There is a light breeze and we are thoroughly enjoying the very warm temps (upper 60s!). But I am overdressed and heating up too fast as I sweep the pine needles of the deck. It is weird that the snow - piled up in feet just last weekend - is now nearly all gone. It is weird but wonderful.
I get up into the Wisconsin woods and all thoughts of what I have to do leave my head. For city concerns this is good thing. But not so much for the trailer tasks that I need to get done.
It is so incredibly weird that I have this amazing daughter and weird to think there was ever a time when these woods didn't know the sound of her laughter.
There is a question I get asked a lot in the city usually after they see my daughter in twirly skirts and dresses.
They ask: "is she a girly-girl?"
I say this with pride: "yes she is, she's the kind of girl who climbs trees and the kind of girl that knows that skirts give her more freedom to move as she climbs those trees."
Weird questions asked turn out to have wonderful answers.
She goes off the explore the woods on her own after donning her girly pink raincoat. I can just barely see the pink through the trees. The birds are tweeting and all that other good stuff. Crows, sapsuckers, chickadees, a rooster from the neighbor place, and others I can't identify (yet). There are no hordes of swallows here. Eventually she returns and asks for a dvd break in the trailer and I don't mind much. She's a bit sick with cold but for now she's shrugging it off. We are all a little bit sick.
Dave returns with a load of wood. So we all grab our gloves and starting unloading.
Eventually the loads pile up and I have to reach high above my head to toss in a log. Ground down bits of wood and dirt fall down on my face. I have to quit the tall wood rack to start another pile on the ground. I sort logs that can immediately burn pushing off that moment that I need to star chopping wood. Piling and stacking is weirdly meditative. Tossing, lifting, placing logs in a way that won't collapse, a bit like a vertical puzzle I suppose. The workout is awesome. I'm working muscles that don't get worked in the gym.
There is talk about visiting the deer stand located deep in the woods behind our property. We are lucky in that our few acres border woodland managed by the county. Acres and acres of trees and some wetlands (the great pond where the geese collect and the wolves hunt). That land is also open for hunting so we don't venture far during any of the many hunting seasons. Now it is quiet and we can easily follow deer tracks that are made deeper by the water-soaked, spongy terrain, made so by the recent snowmelt.
As late afternoon approaches I realize I didn't put the beer on ice. Last weekend it would been enough to just leave the beer outside. These days we are drinking New Glarus Spotted Cow, locally brewed in Wisconsin of course.
After the beer is iced we get the fire stoked for cooking. Sausages, hotdogs, Cole slaw, red bell peppers, hummus and strawberries makes for a fine dinner outside, al fresca and all that. The sun set with brilliant oranges, purples and pinks. There was a crescent moon for a couple of hours but now the encroaching clouds are covering over the moonshine.
Hazy stars make me yearn for more starlight, a clear sky revealing the universe. It is clear enough to find the constellation gemini for the first time and I feel like I can see something new about myself. Leo takes a leap over Jupiter. That was a wild sight! Later the Big Dipper shines through. This time of year it always seems like the constellation is a dipper full of blessings pouring down on us, upside down that it is.
Is it the constellation or the planet that is upside down? Huh. I'll have to look into that.
The trailer furnace turns on. An owl's haunted hoot is way off into the distance. A dog. All these sounds coming from the south, southwest of us near the river cabins.
The crackle of the fire. A toad leaping in the leaves. While first the sounds were distant, now the attention is closer.
The fire does down. The wind stills completely. The splitting of logs sounds thunderous.
Nothing to the north, out where the woods are acres and acres, deep and dense and expansive.
Maybe she's out there listening for us.