Sunday, October 03, 2010

On a Quiet Morning

I was surprised to see big billowy black clouds in the sky this morning.  After yesterday's beautiful day, I guess I was programmed to see another.  I was even more surprised to see that it rained here overnight, albeit slightly.

The sand on the driveway was wet as I made my way to the barn in semi darkness.  I could also make out moisture on the grass as Kea kept leaping up to lick my hand in her morning greeting.  This moisture looked more like it came from the sky than from whatever scientific process creates dew. 

Those clouds and a soft wind created a quiet, thoughtful mood as I led Lily and Heather to their pasture---on this morning selecting Pasture Number Two.  They love nibbling at newly growing grass, and because of their absence for several days, that enclosure has an ample supply.  Today they'll have a change from the wide-open hayfield pasture.

Once they were happily munching away at breakfast, I decided the hayfield would be a great place to walk.  Now that I'm not watering gardens, I walk the fencelines in the early morning.   Those boundaries provide a way to take many more steps and get more exercise, especially if the dogs choose to accompany me.

On this morning, they chose to go back to the house so I had the space all to myself, or so I thought.

Once in the hayfield, unoccupied by horses all night, I spotted a dark moving critter, a small one over by Meserve's fence.  The cloud-induced gloom made it hard to make out, but the creature looked like a cat or maybe a coon.  That's when I remembered I hadn't let the cats out of their bedroom in the shop.

So, I knew this wasn't one of ours.  The animal remained unaware of my presence until I had walked to within 50 or so feet of it where I could see that it was a cat.  Then, its rather moderate, mouse-seeking gait turned into high-geared escape mode. Under the fence it went, racing along the divider between our field and Meserve's.

I wondered if it belonged to the new neighors next door.  Moving on with my walk, I neared the Lodgepole pasture where, even above the quiet breeze, I could hear something moving through the grass.  It was still dark enough for my scaredy-cat mind to walk cautiously away from the fenceline.

Probably that cat, I thought, but I wasn't taking chances.

After walking the perimeter of the hayfield, I moved on to the yard where my morning route takes me along the south side, to a mowed pathway around the small field where Bill has planted some young trees, then along the big front-yard flower beds and to the north garden which I've recently planted to grass.  

Usually, I check to see if the new grass is growing, but this morning, the dark gloom prevailed.  My next morning trip usually takes me to the paperbox, but I'd noticed it was empty.  That happens a lot on Sunday mornings.

So, with no dogs at my heel, I moved on to the road.  After taking a few steps, I saw a dark figure moving ahead of me.  Then, I made it out to be Stan, who had also come out to get his paper.  He was headed back to the house.  I wondered if he'd still be in hearing distance by the time I reached his driveway.

So, I kept on walking, only to hear another noise breaking the general quiet of this dark morning.  Something was moving among Stan's apple trees.

Can anyone guess?

Of course, anyone who knows this area knows that deer are everywhere.  This morning a lone doe had probably come to nibble away at Stan's apple trees, only to be distracted by the human walking down the road.

For a brief moment, I thought that Stan and I might unwittingly box her in.  She ran to the north right toward where Stan had just walked.  Then, she made a sharp turn, bounded across the road and through Gary Finney's fence as if nothing was there to stop her.

I watched her race across the field; then when feeling safe, she turned around and watched me as I approached Stan's driveway.  He was not there, so there would be no commiserating of neighbors about the paper arriving late on this quiet October morning.

I walked back home, slowly, listening all the time to see if I could hear a car moving and stopping to the north.  No dice.

So, it was in to the house for some more quiet time.  I started writing this post about the quiet and had composed about four sentences before a car pulled up to the paperbox, stopped and moved on.

It's been a quiet time reading the papers, and that gloom is hanging in there outside those windows.  My morning walk today was a far cry from the Selle Valley Critter Choir of last weekend when bawling calves were being weaned, mules were piercing the air with their odd brays and roosters were competing on both sides of our Lovestead. 

Sometimes there's something different to be heard and observed even when there's not much noise. 

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