Things that are different this year
- I’m here about a month earlier in the season, so I’m catching all the spring flowers, as well as the rivulets of water that are just dry creek beds by June. In fact, the season change took place while I was here: last Friday night, it froze—hard ground, frost on plants in the morning; and Sunday night it didn’t fall below 55 or 60. Yesterday afternoon it was 90 in the shade.
- My underwear. I bought four pairs of slippery granny panties, after an uncomfortable first ride (which had me applying Band Aids for day two). I tell you, they make all the difference.
- There’s a place down the road toward the highway selling horses. As far as I can tell, they have to sell them because they can’t keep them fenced in. Several times I’ve seen rogue equines heading up the road.
- Ants. Not a lot of ants, but some. Not teeny ants that get into all the food, nor the large carpenter ants that eat your house to nothing, just standard black ants. But three or four every day, inside. Hmmm.
- Deodorant. Yeah, I’m not wearing any. I thought, why? Who cares out here? And, it turns out I really don’t smell all that bad. Yeah, my sweat smells like roses (or, rather, nothing at all). Yeah, I know, I was surprised too!
Things that are the same that I wish were different
- Dial-up internet. For someone with high speed WiFi at home, this is a huge inconvenience. One might think that I’d spend less time online since it’s such a pain in the ass, but I actually spend about the same amount of time. I just get infinitely less done.
Reasons why it’s awesome to be alone
- I can eat the whole mango all by myself, without feeling guilty (the lack of guilt being the key component)
- Everything I do is entirely at my own pace, tempered a little by dog and horse hunger.
- If I feel like hiking for 45 minutes (each way!) with a heavy handsaw tied to my back with a rope (thanks, Ian, for making the saw sling before you left) and giving myself a blister on my palm sawing through a fallen log blocking a favorite trail, all during the heat of the afternoon when it was 90 in the shade, no one can encourage me not to (and boy, I can say without hesitation that a hot afternoon feels much cooler when 1. you’re bathed in sweat—and I mean bathed—and 2. you’ve actually stopped doing the hard physical labor and are merely walking).
Reasons why having another person here would be nice
- There’s no one to help me eat the mountains of produce left by last weekend’s visitors. I mean mountains. Like 13 apples and 6 bananas and 7 different kind of greens. It turns out one person eats surprisingly little.
- When I’m out walking on old logging roads with the dogs and Spackle stops drops and rolls in a moderately fresh (I mean, I smelled this one coming) scat of some sort, there’s no one to tell me that it probably wasn’t, in fact, bear scat deposited seconds before we rounded the bend, and that if I go on (which was my intention, the log being ahead rather than behind) I won’t, in fact, be mauled to death by a giant grizzly. And so I continue on, all senses as alert as possible, wondering if my anxiety is merely my brain saying “bear mauling would suck” or actually some innate sense saying “bear mauling would suck and there’s a bear right around the next bend, ready to leap on you!”
- I’d have company both when I trekked up the giant hill to the far end of the 80 acres in order to bring in the horses (who don’t come when they’re called), schlepping the halters; and when I hiked back down the hill, still schlepping the halters, because the horses (who do what I want but in their own special way), galloped by me and raced for home at about 1,000 times my pace. Really, I’ve carried those halters up and down that hill way more times than the horses have.
- If I feel like hiking for 45 minutes (each way!) with a heavy handsaw tied to my back with a rope and giving myself a blister on my palm sawing through a fallen log blocking a favorite trail, all during the heat of the afternoon when it was 90 in the shade, someone could encourage me not to.