i drove the long but scenic route. 10 lanes and tall buildings give way to 8 in the suburbs and down to 4 where the commute from that point is an hour to the heart of the city. i pass the last stand of old properties defiantly seperating business parks, the dixie 400 flea, and the right turn for all the lake people.
Kurt serenades me plaintively from the grave. "where do bad people go when they die? not to heaven where the angels fly!"
i take the 2 lane left towards the mountains. i pass the auto shop of a famous nascar driver, a meat and three palace, and a place where you can pay to fish a trout out of a pond. there's apple houses, and in the summer, a petting zoo of goats and lambs and piglets. rows of gleaming and fragrant chicken houses are stacked along rolling pastoral hills laden with all manner of bovine creatures. next is the forest fire tower and a row of smokey bear signs. i read them and shake my head yes in solemn agreement.
soon my range appears and i am first day at school excited. everytime.
the mountains are big and blue on this day and the air is crystal. low winter sunlight beaming through the endless line of bare trees strobes my eyes and makes me see blood red in my peripheral. it goes on too long. the almost home stretch offers a long range view of the big frog; his back looking hairy now that you can see the trees on the ridgeline. the final, real home stretch is a dead end into wilderness. it's anything but dead with the abundant wildlife who call it home. the road winds and banks and is a ribbon of mercury in this light. evidence of fires puff out of little cabin chimney pipes. mixed with an army of white pines and sparkly decorations it is a greeting card for all the senses.
an american flag in metal swings open with a groan and smashes into a fallen virginia pine bearing a tremendous bounty of cones. i take in the last mountain view and roll down to the black water. the little Christmas wreath i put on the hens door is still in place but i may have lost one of those fancy hydrangeas from china. the goldfinch sak is empty of thistle and the other feeder is empty too. the evergreens are full and lush and the field in the last of the light is almost glowing through the dark giants blocking my view. it seems i've been gone longer than i have.
inside i get the little heater all cranked up and sit quietly. i reflect on an absolutely correct drawing of eva by my friend margaret, stuck to an old white refrigerator with magnets. i listen for the nightbirds and prepare for a chilly evening with rain.