Sunday, March 29, 2015

Off the Beaten Path

Caretaker’s Log, Thursday, March 26, 2015

After all the morning stuff is done and the generator is running to recharge the batteries, after a breakfast of granola and one banana, after I post a blog, after I walk around on the perfect snow with the cat following behind, I put on the skis and go up the old road toward, and then past, the dam.

I see an eagle and those silly geese. Lots of coyote tracks. I go on and on. I go far until it's fun and I'm exhilarated in the high altitude air. I get off the beaten path and ski to gain a better vantage point of the north. From up here the mountains are more visible in all their snow tipped glory.

Going down is full out fun.

At the lodge, I sit with the cat, check the generator, eat an apple, take a bath, and put some laundry in the sink to soak.

I write.

In the late afternoon, I turn off the generator. I wring out the clothes and hang them to dry.

I eat nachos on rice crackers for dinner.

At seven o'clock, I record the weather and do my walk around with the cat. It was warm again today. The snow is down another two inches. Down to a total of 16.

The owls are out. More than one tonight. The clouds move fast overhead. I go in and write.

I hear coyotes yipping and rush out to stand on the porch to listen. But they're done. Just owls carrying on and a brief interlude from the geese.

I write. I have a glass of wine and watch a show. The days go so quickly by.

Caretaker’s Log, Friday, March 27, 2015

As I'm making coffee the phone rings. It's my almost 4-year-old niece. She's about to have yogurt and honey for breakfast, she tells me. I tell her I'm going to have bananas and tahini. I tell her about the snow, the moose, the geese.

"Maybe I can come see you there sometime," she says.

"That would be fun. You could sit on the porch and the cat could sit in your lap. That's her favorite thing."

"Is your cat pink?" she asks.

Unfortunately no.

I have my breakfast, work a crossword, read a little. I'm feeling lazy. I take my book and go sit on the porch. The cat joins me. It is her favorite thing. But laziness won't work on a day like today. It's too amazing.

I remember to put on sunscreen. I get my gear, grab the skis, and head toward the treacherous bridge. I cross it and ski over the field. It's like skating on ice, easy as pie, easy peasy, fun. I skirt the river and startle four geese. One moose is eating red willows in the far east. I can’t see his brother. I make my way through the willows, taking off the skis once to clamber between the tall bushes so that I can go up the hill toward Sportsman's Ridge. I crest a rise and look out over the plain, broken up by the river, and bookcased by red rock ridges.

I work my way over to the old horse trail and follow it part of the way down, make my own path the other part.

I arrive to the downhill slope I'd tried to descend with such frustrating and disastrous falling results weeks and weeks ago. Today though, that hill is mine. The snow conditions are absolutely perfect. I go up and down four times. Speed is so much fun.

Then I ski back over the plain and to the bridge. Take off the skis to cross, and then zip across the east field. Not quite done, I go up the dam road to the first fence. Sit for a moment there and then come down with what feels like grace, speed, and skill. As a final bit, I go up my bunny slope on the new road and that's my last downhill thrill for the day.

I ski across the yard and am back at the lodge.

It was a perfect run.

Today feels like a vacation day. I don't really know what that means, but that's how it feels.

I say hello to the cat. Sit for a moment in the sun. Then I go get cleaned up.

I call my grandmother.

I make green chili eggs—one of my mom's recipes—for dinner. It hits the spot. I have a glass of rum and apple juice as I sit down to write.

I write.

At seven o'clock, I record the weather. Down another inch of snow. Only fifteen left. The owl and the geese are talking over each other.

I find a Wizard of Oz piano book on the shelf over the piano and play a few bars of Over the Rainbow.

I write.

I drink a couple glasses of wine, eat cookies, and watch one show.

Then I read for a bit on the couch.

The stars are out. Goodnight, Orion. Goodnight, stars.

Caretaker’s Log, Saturday, March 28, 2015

I haul out a 30 pound bag of cat food and refill the bin outside on the cat’s porch. Between almost thirteen weeks of her own meals and all the sharing she does with the mice the bin was empty. The cat is curious about all this activity and then glad.

I get the generator going.

The wind is fierce today.

After breakfast, I finish up another Swedish detective story. Much of it takes place in Motala, the town where I stayed a month with my friend Pontus and his family. I’ve been to many of the places the story mentions. I look at pictures from that time and reminisce.

At 12:30, I put on skis and head out and up the dam road. The snow is too perfect to waste. I go past the dam, past my farthest point, and through the trees. I'm as far as the snowmobile road. The first time I’ve been here. It's wide enough for cars, groomed down smooth. I go a little ways in both directions, and then head back down.

The clouds today are fantastic.

Down is fast. Down is fun. It's perfect snow and it makes me feel like I know what I'm doing.

What a good run. The hardest part is crossing the east field with the wind pressing hard into me, trying to push me back up the road.

I get cleaned up.

Phinehas calls.

I turn off the generator.

I eat a portion of green chili eggs for my first dinner. I eat a couple cookies.

A mouse has chewed a good chunk out of the side of one of my apples. I store the uneaten ones in a sealable container. Nothing is safe, nothing is sacred.

I call my grandmother.

I eat the last of the green chili eggs for second dinner.

I write.

The cat and I do the evening walk around and record the weather. The warm day has melted snow into pools at the low ground spots. Good thing I have rain boots. I’m gonna need them.

I write a little bit longer. My character is finally up against the bad guys. The question is will he be captured or will he slip through their fingers and turn the tables on them. I’ve got to use clichés here so I can avoid that in the book.

Snack. Wine. Show. Bedtime.

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