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Live From The Field

Feb 20th, 2010 by Mary | 0

“Pleasure in the Ordinary” February 20, 2010     OK. So I finally did it. I signed up for email updates from the “Chicken Whisperer.” Daily life on the outskirts of Glenwood, Iowa (pop. Around 5,000) is different from life in the east bay, with San Francisco on the horizon. Talk about leaving the “fast lane” to the “slow lane,” or maybe even the “shoulder.” After all, another 4-6 inches of snow is due tomorrow and we are under a severe weather advisory. Translated that means don’t go anywhere unless you absolutely HAVE to.  So I dashed out this morning to stock up on fresh veggies, get more pet food for the dogs, cat, raccoon, squirrel, rabbit, dozens of wild birds.

Life here is slowed down, stripped down, to the essentials now. Walking out on the snow- and ice-covered driveway to get the mail is the biggest adventure I plan on until the snow abates some time next week. Even the house harbors little traps, magnified by Sheryl’s two-week absence to California. The day she left, I slipped on the utility room floor after coming inside with snow on my shoes. I fell on my wrist and hit my head, so put down another non-slip mat to reduce my chances of another fall. It is possible that the mailman will not venture up the driveway on Tuesday. I am not sure that Sheryl’s son-in-law, who comes out with grandkids to snow blow us to the outside world, will venture the drive to rescue his – what? Mother-in-law? Stepmother? I hope so. After all, Sheryl’s middle daughter is my emergency contact.

  Dog walks have been reduced to my opening the front door and commanding the dogs, “Go pee!”, hoping that they least try to get off the edge of the front porch before they turn the fresh snow yellow.

  My “nature” excursions include looking out the window to see the newly laid tracks of the wildlife that take sanctuary on our property, replenishing the bird feeders, waiting every night for the arrival of Bandit, a new guest. About three or four times as big as our biggest dog, Bandit is a bold, wild raccoon that sits on his haunches in the bird feeder a bit after sunset every night. He carefully picks up the unshelled peanuts one by one, rolling them back and forth between his paws before crunching them open, his incisors giving tacit warning to anyone thinking of him as potential “pet” material. I always wait until he has finished his meal (eschewing the apple core and carrot I added in hopes of augmenting his winter diet) and leaves before I venture to let the dogs out one last time before tucking them in.

  So, today, yet another snow day. I am hunkered down, wearing a new flannel shirt, staring at the starkly outlined tree branches, as yet to be adorned in their spring finery. I have warmth, animal companionship, about 2,000 books I have yet to read, the Olympics to catch up on, lots of food. I can picture in my mind the spring garden just around the corner. My vegetable seeds, wildflower mix, and gladiolas should be here this week, although I have not seen the ground they need to go in for about three months now. The herb garden I planted in clay pots in the kitchen is sprouting though, reminding me that spring truly is coming, despite the snow banks.

  If I get really bored, I can read more about the “Chicken Whisperer,” as I grapple with discerning if my desire to have chickens is a fantasy or a reality not yet actualized. So, go on about your busy, packed, citified ways today, if you can. I will be sitting here, content in winter’s snowy, snug cocoon, learning that my true calling is to be a human “being,” not a human “doing.”

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