Thanks to Hilary for naming this a Post Of The Week.
I'm home until the sixteenth of the month, using up the last of my annually awarded three weeks of paid vacation. I had a respectable list of Chores That Take Time to accomplish during this time. I have done almost nothing that is on the list. I have, however, walked every morning, usually before dawn. The sun rises just before I reach the driveway on the trip home, when my ankles are weakening and twinging and my lower back is all nice and loose, and I have finally relaxed enough to stop holding my breath and I'm panting deeply. I come inside and take off sneakers and socks and I sweat for a little while before I shower just so I can pretend to be an athlete for a few minutes. A shower and then it's fresh shorts and tank top and my book on the porch until all my muscles relax and I get hungry. It's a wonderfully satisfying routine, and I would like to retire so I could make it my routine all year. My go to work mornings don't allow enough time for all that leisurely sweating, showering, sitting.
I thought that during my morning walks I would see wildlife everywhere, but I don't. No doubt I make so much noise that the animals are all long hidden before I am close enough to spy on them. I have seen one deer leaping across the road. The road is narrow and the deer was agile. It was one bound and gone. Rabbits stay immobile at the side of the road, trying for invisibility. Their nerve usually fails them at fifty feet, though, and they leap into the greenery. This morning one waited until I was nearly upon him, and hadn't seen him, before he bustled through the low-growing leaves. The sudden scuffling provided a shot of adrenalin to my heart. I keep forgetting to look for the snake Husband says is nearby. He says the snake must have just caught a frog and both are dead, run over by a vehicle, their corpses drying in the dirt road. The sight as I envision it offers a philosophical question: Is it preferable to have Death come just at that moment when a goal has been achieved, or is it even more of a loss to die without enjoying the satisfaction of the achievement?
Along the seasonal road signs are posted: ROAD NOT MAINTAINED BETWEEN DECEMBER 1 AND APRIL 15 so that people won't plunge their vehicles into the midwinter snowdrifts. People still do that; Husband did a few years ago. But the town has discharged its responsibility and those who do get buried are on their own, stumbling back to the farmer at the end of the road to beg help via a tractor and a chain. Maybe because no snowplows go through there, debris has accumulated. This summer's additions include a navy blue tee shirt with a Ford emblem on the chest that hangs on the branches of a wild shrub, as if somebody got too hot and hung out his laundry to dry without benefit of washing first. Farther along, a thick blue tarp with lots and lots of white block printing on it. Warnings, printed in four languages, to avoid this and that. It appears to me that such tarps, intended for tying over haybales, have been used at one time or another as trampolines, causing the manufacturer's insurer to require a warning of "NO JUMPING." It is repeated in Spanish and French, and in German: "NICHT SPRINGEN." That makes me smile. Springen sounds like something elves might do, and so much more fun than jumping. And Nicht Springen! sounds like a kindly old Santa Clause-y figure admonishing apple-cheeked children to go straight to sleep and nicht springen on their quilt-covered featherbeds.