bunt sign

Wednesday, January 3, 2001

The mornings have been so eerily foggy lately, like a scene from a black and white horror movie, that I haven't been prepared for the warm, sunny afternoons. It's so dark that I put off getting out of bed until I can't wait any longer, and it's so cold that I bundle up in sweats while I'm working.

morning mist

Then I walk outside at noon, and it's as if I'm in a different dimension. Brilliant blue sky streaked with a few wispy, non-threatening clouds, and the sun heating my little corner of the woods as in early May. It's like living on another planet, where you get all seasons in one day.

To a person whose moods are tied so closely to what I can see out the window, this keeps life interesting. Just knowing that the sun will come out helps me last through the darker hours. And I have to make the most of the sunlight, because it gets dark and cold very quickly in the evening.

Lately, about an hour before I know the twilight hours are coming, I close up shop and head up to the loft with a book. The late afternoon sun streams in the window, and I read until I can no longer see the words on the pages.

Yesterday I fell asleep up there with the book on my lap, and when I woke up an hour later it was not only dark, but cold. I've never felt cold in the loft before, ever, so I knew the downstairs would be like a cave. I ran down and pulled on a sweatshirt and turned on all the lights.

This is pretty much the routine these days. Then I put in another hour or two of work and settle in for the night. I can deal with the night, just by coasting through it after a good day.

And yesterday was a good day. Did you know you could have a good day, even when you feel like something the cat buried? It took a few doses of stuff I probably shouldn't be taking for two weeks straight, but what made it a good day was that I got some work done. I made my list and decided the night before what I was going to accomplish. And then I did it! Good day.

My little garden helps get me through the day, too. It's like a slice of some faraway world. I can watch the birds pecking in the grass, then darting up onto a branch to get a better view. The sparrows go about their business single-mindedly, intent on not missing a single bug, worm or seed. They almost seem to be cooperating, keeping out of each other's way.

sunny garden

Then a couple of robins or jays will see all this activity and swoop in, more interested in chasing out the sparrows than in getting at the food. The sparrows are relentless, though, and not to be daunted for long. They have numbers on their side, as well as intensity of purpose. I can lose myself in this interplay for hours (if I'm not careful).

There was a new character introduced into this drama yesterday. At first I thought it was another bird, dashing out from under a bush, pulling up a couple of blades of grass, and scampering back beneath the bush again. That's not characteristic of any of the birds I've seen here, though, and after watching this for a few minutes I realized it was a small rodent.

I don't know if it was a mole or a gopher, or maybe a rat. It was dark in color and furry (I think), but it moved so fast that I never got a clear look at it. It was a good diversion, though.

The Boss might not agree, but these interludes send me back to the computer with more energy and keep me more productive. He gets his money's worth out of me, even if my work day isn't structured in the conventional way.

Nighttime here at the Fortress is a whole new realm. It's nothing like what I've always been used to. The lights and sounds of the city would be out of place here.

The darkness of the woods is broken only by the distant lights from town, twinkling like low-lying stars. And the night sounds are the sounds of nature, the wind whistling through the trees, the hooting of the owls, the chirping of the crickets.

I feel transported beyond any life I've ever known. In the city, I was one of tens of thousands of people, tucked inside their boxes. Out here, I'm one of a million different creatures, some of them unseen, some of them unknown, but all of us part of one world.

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Little rooster crowing, must be something on his mind.