Teasel in the cat yard on Friday, enjoying the warmer weather.
Friday would have passed muster as a 'normal' day of January weather.
The dooryard was squelchy, the lane to the barn muddy.
Pebbles greeted me with the exuberance of a much younger horse, kicking up her heels, plunging along the fence, tail lifted, head up. She slid into the lean-to, blowing, farting, stomping her front feet.
I spread her hay, dished out kibble to the barn cats.
I allowed the fireplace stove to go out late on Thursday, and set the furnace thermostat to a conservative 68 degrees. I needed a break from carrying in wood.
This would be my last full day on my own.
I considered the things I had hoped to accomplish during a week when I didn't need to keep a schedule of meals or adjust my bedtime to J.'s
I meant to write several long letters. I hoped to create at least a rough draft of a neighborhood history project for which I began the research nearly two years ago.
[The above sounds very self-important--its merely something which struck my fancy.]
I thought I would sew--and I did finish about 2 dozen small and simple patchwork blocks, working at my sewing machine while I kept the downstairs wood stove churning out heat.
My hand applique project languished in it's box by my rocking chair.
I read only in short sleepy intervals when I sat near the fire to be warmed.
With the best part of a day 'free' I found I was too unsettled and unfocused [possibly too tired?] to attempt any of the above.
I drove to the charity shop and had a desultory poke around. Two other shoppers were accompanied by toddlers who kept up a dismal wailing and roaring.
I left after a good rummage with two pair of dress slacks and a long flannel nightshirt.
I stopped at the Wal Mart next door thinking I would buy avocados and such for the salad I had craved.
In the middle of the produce section a vendor was loudly demonstrating some wondrous gadget and I had to detour around the throng of enthralled on-lookers.
The entire bin of avocados when reached were hard and green.
Instead of salad, I came home with a pair of wooly tights!
The afternoon whiled away in thickening grey clouds.
My son phoned earlier than usual.
After talking with him I managed to write one letter!
Deciding that a relatively early bedtime was in order I turned out the lights at eleven.
Within moments shafts of lightning flashed through the bedroom shutters; thunder banged and rattled, rain pelted the roof in torrents.
I remembered that Charlie-cat had demanded 'out' earlier in the evening.
When I opened the door into the carport he rushed in, mildly wet, complaining.
Standing at the sliding doors looking out at the lashing branches, watching the shimmer of lightning on rapidly forming puddles, I suddenly saw a slim tiger cat hurrying along between the nearest maple tree and the
cat yard fence.
With a jolt I turned to verify that our two 'tigers', Willow and Willis, were inside.
Yet another stray feral cat looking for shelter and a bite to eat?
Could it [impossibly] be Wilbur, the surly boy who refused to use the litter box? I turfed him out over a year earlier intending to feed him in the barn. We never saw him again.
I returned to bed, tried to settle.
The thunderstorm ebbed into the distance, then returned to bang and rumble.
This cycle repeated in varying force until nearly 4 A.M.
The ringing of the phone a few hours later woke me; J. with our daughter and son-in-law, expected to be off the cruise ship shortly and headed to the airport.
'Do you have a cold?' inquired J. 'You sound stuffy.'
'I don't have a cold,' I replied, knowing that I sounded sleepy, stuffy and rather stupid.
[I refused to admit that the phone call had caught me still in bed at nearly 8 o'clock!]
The day was mostly cloudy, a chilly wind whipping about, a watery sunset.
I found that I missed the fire. The furnace was keeping the house at the modest level of heat I had chosen, but without the friendly presence of the living room fire a familiar comfort was lacking.
I crumpled newspaper, laid in twigs, carefully arranged slender bits of kindling and set a match to it.
As the flames caught and grew I added first small 'limb wood', then settled a seasoned chunk of oak in place. As the heat crept into the room, the cats assembled on the hearth rug and I settled happily into my rocking chair.
D. appeared, speculating on how soon his parents would arrive home--not wanting at 19 to admit that he had missed them.
He rummaged in the fridge, taking out the remains of shepherd's pie, cutting slices from a loaf of bread.
The boy cats gathered round, wanting him to entertain them.
Fueled by an inhalation of catnip, they leaped and twirled trying to snatch the cloth mouse
dangled from a string.
Moments after D. left J. was suddenly here, startling me.
He relayed the highlights of the family trip, flicked through the photos on his camera, ate a sandwich.
He listened to my tales of record cold weather from the vantage point of one who spent those days in the tropics. He loaded wood into the fire, bumbled along to the bedroom.
When I went in a scant 10 minutes later he was asleep, the light still on.
Sunday morning: frost sparkle, sunshine, mist rising from Big Creek.
A mellow day, crisp and clear.
M. and G. walked in as we finished a hearty mid-morning breakfast, come to collect their vehicle.
G. has not regained her land legs after the pitching motion of the ship.
M. and J. didn't suffer that lack of balance.
J.'s laundry done, clean shirts and trousers returned to the closet.
I've sorted his photos onto my PC, then transferred them to his laptop, shared them on Face Book in the family album.
J. tinkered about outside for a bit, then came in, thumped into his recliner.
He has been watching Netflix--with his eyes closed.
We are neither of us seething with ambition!
For me, the week past seems a blur--long hours devoted to keeping the house warm, the horse watered, few hours of sleep.
I've been tediously journaling these days and nights--not in the sense of providing a fascinating report, but in the hope that looking back, re-reading, the week will belatedly sort itself into a more coherent memory.
[I went back and replied to the comments on the previous post--sorry for the delay. Comments are always a pleasure.]