Some days I wake before we've rolled around to meet the sun.
By the time I get dressed for the cold, stumbling through, half asleep, the sun has breached the canopy.
A light snow fallen the night before drew me out from the warmth. The farm field, behind the scrim of trees, changes weekly from white to mottled gray to black and then white, again.
It is still.
No rustling of cold-crisp leaves, no creaking of timber, no muffled doof of dropped snow glops. There was a squirrel motionless, vertical, on a dead or dying red oak. Fixed on that spot for quite awhile, I say this squirrel did not make a move. To my right, then, an explosion of noise! My head jerks upward to see a squirrel bursting out of a leafy nest wadded into the crotch of another red oak, then scrambling into the branches of a different tree. I thought how rare that I should get out of bed before squirrels.
I was about ready to come in from the cold when Betsy came out dressed for a walk. Not too far she promised, just around the bend in the road. Outside for half an hour, not moving but for camera work, I was pretty cold, but I joined her.
- I am the still squirrel and Betsy the exuberant one. -
At the end of the drive, up slope, frosted pines, spruce, and aspen grow in the clearing.
Down slope, sumac curlicues tickle the sky.
Around the bend, a roll of hay, unused, under a willow.
And the matted grasses.