Friday, May 30, 2014

Catch and Release

Caretaker’s Log, Tuesday, May 27, 2014

It’s already 60 degrees outside at 9:00 AM.

The bald eagle flies by.

My arms have turned a bit pink from the sun yesterday. I’ll have to be careful how long I sit out here.

There’s a woodpecker out in the woods making a lot of noise.

Other birds are fussing in the trees.

I just saw the hummingbird.

The wind is howling. 

I clean the living room and the music room. Then I Windex some of the windows.

Talk to my mom.

The river has turned brown. The creek has had its time, now it’s the river’s turn to flood.

I take a bath. Wash some clothes.

Quinoa is on the menu for dinner.

One beaver is out on the riverbank. I spy on it with the binoculars. The river is full, filling up to the brim, spilling over the formerly seen rocks, sliding over new grass, flooding.

Caretaker’s Log, Wednesday, May 28, 2014

I get up. Wash a pair of jeans and hang them over the balcony in the sun to dry.

The osprey is out this morning, hunting low over Kinky Creek. Once she dives, splashing hard into the water, emerging with feathers glimmering with drops, but without a fish. She shakes out her feathers and starts the search again.

I read for a bit.

Then I wash the outside windows. This involves a ladder, a bucket, two squeegees, paper towels, and etc…. One and a half hours later I’m finished. Just in time for a thunderstorm to roll in. It doesn’t rain but a few drops.

There is a mighty wind.

I have lunch. While eating at the table, looking out the front clean windows I see a deer walk by. Hello, deer.

The osprey comes out for an afternoon jaunt.

There’s a little dead bird by the woodpile. I think it smacked headfirst into the window. I’d cleaned off a tiny brush of feathers earlier. Crime scene evidence. Sorry, little bird. I take the little dead bird to what has become the bird “burial” grounds and set it next to the bird of prey I’d found the other day. It’s still there, though off its funerary bark. No predators around at the moment, I guess. 

Another storm rolls over. This one has more impressive thunder.

A third storm finally brings rain. Though not enough to measure.

There are two flies in the living room. I’m too lazy to catch them and put them outside.

If all goes according to current plans, I only have seven more days to myself.

Using an empty pineapple can and a laminated map, I catch one of the flies and take it outside.

I catch the second fly and take it outside.

Turns out there are three flies in the living room.

This may be a long fly catching night.

The third fly is caught and released.

And a fourth.

It’s dusk and the birds are out eating bugs.

8 weeks today.

Caretaker’s Log, Thursday, May 29, 2014

It’s an overcast morning. I answer emails until it’s time to go make sure the lights in the generator shed are showing the correct system function.

I eat granola for breakfast.

After breakfast I gear up and trek up to check the dam. I haven’t been up there since Monday. It’s clear. It’s fine. Bored with the usual trail, I follow the creek to get back down. All the time I’m singing in my head a song from Peter Pan that I rework to fit my situation. I sing, “Following the river, the river, the river. Following the river wherever it may go. Tee dum, tee dee. A teedle ee oo tee dum.” Only it’s the creek I’m following.

On impulse, since I’m out and about, I decide to climb up the far north ridge. I’ve been meaning to do that since I got here. Karen had emailed me a few days ago to say, “The winding down days are hard, aren’t they? You start to think about all the things you haven’t done yet, places to hike, pictures to take, books to write.”

The winding down days are hard. And I have been thinking about the things I haven’t done. Trying to make sure I don’t miss out on an opportunity. I like to plan ahead to avoid regret.

So many places to hike.

I’ve been up to the dam what seems like a million times. I’ve done much of the same. Funny how easy it is to just stay within certain limits, a one hour distance from the Lodge, within the property fence line, within view of what I know. Today I’m branching out.

I cross the field. Clamber over the bridge, looking down to watch the muddy, risen water rush by. I follow the path made over the years, I presume. There are elk and deer, possibly moose tracks all along the way. I follow those. I also make my own path through the scrub and around trees.

The ducks fly away at the sight—or the sound?—of me. As I gain height, I stop to gaze down and see an elk looking up, white-faced, at me. She’s in the red reeds by the water, watching, waiting. But wait! What’s this? She has a baby! A little brown fawn. If elk babies are called fawns. I stand and watch them for a while. They stand and watch me too.

Then I’m at the top. It’s high. I slink as close to the edges as I dare. I play it on the safe side. It’s a little on the top of the vertiginous scale. Wow. What a view. When I’ve gone as far up as I plan to, I sit on a rock and drink some of the water I’ve packed along with me. I sit and look down.

All I need is a hang glider.

The red tailed hawks cry. The pair is hunting above me. Circling, calling, catching the sunlight between their wings. They fly together.

On the way down the scent of pine, earth-rich loam, the forest make a spring time perfume.

I pass a track. A very large something. A bear? A wolf? I’ll have to check the AFalcon Guide Scat and Tracks of the Rocky Mountains when I get back to the Lodge.

The sun has burned off the overcast. It’s a glorious day. My face is probably getting sunburned.

Back at the ranch, I head inside the fence and start towards the generator shed when I see a dark shape moving in the west field. The moose! I want to get closer. For a moment, I glance down to mark my path, and when I look up the moose is gone. A hallucination? I go sit up on the top log of the horse corral and wait. My patience is rewarded. I see the moose again. He moves briskly back the way he’d come. I think I see the elk mama too. Perhaps they startled each other.

The three hour jaunt has done me good.

I check my email. Kathy, the owner, asks me to measure a cabinet and the space around it. I measure and email her the numbers.

Then I eat lunch, some black rice thing I made last night and leftover green beans. Now to finish my morning coffee with the sun warming me through my clothes.

I make a final batch of granola (and here I’d thought the last batch would be the last. Must be like Elisha’s miracle with the pot of oil). I water out the last dregs of honey from the bottles, use up the last of the agave. It should hold me for breakfasts until people arrive next week. I’m starting to wonder what kind of food Karen and Kathy will bring when they come.

I talk with Michaela.

I talk with my grandmother.

I take a bath. Now I’m warm and refreshed. Time to cozy in for the evening.

On my way upstairs, I glance out the backroom windows. I grab the binoculars. An elk, two elk. Three elk. How many elk does it take to make a herd, I wonder. Six elk! Looks like they’re heading up the same path I took earlier today. I watch them for a long time. Straining my eyes against the gathering darkness. If there are any little ones with the elk it’s too dark, too far to see. I trace their motion. Maybe there are seven moving creatures working their way up, away, together.

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