Sunday, March 25, 2012


Before I go into how today is a better day (still no horses, aside from rubbing long, dense wisps of hair from Shadow’s rump as she tore into her morning hay), I want to add a postscript to my post about Sadie. Last night for dinner, after having eaten nothing all day, including the little cheese heart I gave her when I left for the morning, she again turned up her nose and made no attempt to eat her food, the presence of other dogs having absolutely no effect on her. No, she had devised a new plan for their, and MY, as it turned out, mortification: she got me to put a serving spoonful of lamb stew onto her dinner, in the presence of the other dogs. Then she deigned to eat.

Having been sufficiently shamed last night, it was a simple act for me this morning to add another scoop of soup, this time fortified with rice (my own dinner last night was quite tasty and filling), to Sadie’s bowl, without even attempting to get her to eat beforehand. However, I pulled one over on her by giving Spackle an equal scoop of soup on HIS breakfast.

I am so whipped.

Today has been a better day, though, because I slept much better last night then I have since arriving here. There weren’t any whumps off the roof in the night, as it hasn’t snowed enough again to cover the roof, and so there were no panicked barks from Tessa on the porch. Spackle has made it clear that he doesn’t want to worry about a long, slippery span of stairs at night with tired hips and so stayed on his bed down here without me worrying about him, and Hoover kept me company upstairs in the guest room. I woke at 7:30 rested instead of resentful, and enjoyed the trudge/slog/wade over the hill to Maple Creek Meadow. Someone’s been doing some logging over there, and there are a couple large piles of shorn timber waiting for a melt. And then a dry. So, several months from now.

There is another sound I had to learn to identify, before it scared me too much when I’m out in the wilderness alone with 4 dogs (who are a dubious comfort). For the first couple days, the sound kept making me think of Yetis, or creatures from another dimension stepping in and out of mine: a subtle, broad sound of snow being crushed, or stepped on, by a massive foot just behind me and often to the side, and out of range of my peripheral vision. Freaky, no?

This is what I think is going on: as the days lengthen and warm, the ground has been thawing and water running under the drifts of melting snow, and creeks, puddles, even ponds are forming between the snow and the earth. At night, when the temperature again drops to well below freezing, the underside of the snow drifts refreezes, although in a somewhat different place, perhaps an inch above the earth, than it had been. As I tramp around through pristine meadows, I occasionally step where this underlayer hasn’t yet melted again, and a series of fractures races out from my foot, like throwing a rock into a lightly frozen pond or through a window. Those fractures allow the heavy, wet snow to settle, sometimes over quite a large area.

It is preternaturally silent out here, in this place where the subtle sounds of my digestion can send sleeping dogs leaping up, barking hysterically at the door. Not a good place for the paranoid.

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