One thing The Hermit is good for (one of several...er, many;) ) is starting a good roaring fire and keeping it burning overnight. Me, I have been way too timid in my fire efforts; for some reason I have this innate fear of fire (which is probably a healthy survival instinct) and I always have a tendence to start with too little. Too little paper, too little kindling, and I wonder why my flame languishes in a firebox amidst the cold downdrafts.
But lately, I have come to a quiet agreement with fire. I agree to lose some of my fear, and the fire agrees to provide what it can under what I give it. So now I can load the firebox with kindling, newspaper, and a couple fatwood sticks on a cold afternoon when the fire has long burned out, and it gives me good results. It is a good transformation for me, and I can't help but wonder if it doesn't have something to do with my recent commitment to learn and practice yoga. I definitely feel more focused lately.
Of course, my yoga studio leaves a lot to be desired. Usually the practice occurs some time between 6:30 and 7 in the morning, if I feel like it, before I have the unenviable task of rousing the youngsters, who have, as usual, been sharing the queen bed with me while The Hermit is away. I end up with about a foot on the edge, a corner of down comforter if I'm lucky, and a cat nearly ripping my eyelid off as it jumps up on my pillow. So waking up seems like a good option.
Then it's out to the main room, which if I've done a good job of fire tending, not sleeping on the job, is pleasantly warm. I throw a couple more logs on, get the coffee started, let the dogs out, feed the cats, brush my teeth, bring in another armload of wood, then maybe put on a yoga or Pilates DVD and attempt to follow along. In five minutes, I guarantee there is a dog intruding on my Downward-facing Dog, or a cat nuzzling up to my Cat position. Or there are two dogs playfully fighting on my precious floor space. Talk about finding inner peace.
But in spite of all that, I do think it has made some subtle, positive changes. Just gotta stick with it.
In other news, ice fishing season has begun in earnest. According to local reports there's 8-10 inches on most of the lakes, which means my pond has more than enough for good skating, if I can find my skates. Aww heck, I may be due for new ones, I've only had those for about 25 years.
I've been enjoying the low afternoon sunlight as I drive home an hour early (gotta pick up Attitude from daycare and get to the end of the driveway so the other two won't have to build character by walking all the way in from the road from the school bus--a considerable distance open to northwest winds). Eagle sightings have averaged about one a day, even a golden eagle a few days ago. Last night in the moonlight at 3:30 AM I counted five cottontail rabbits under my bird feeder, foraging for dropped seeds.
I have had two close deer encounters with my Chevy Astro van in the last two days. The first was near the kids' school, in an area with the unlikely combination of state park and strip convenience store/restaurant. The deer ran out in front of me with such speed I had little time to react, and touching the brakes on the slight layer of snow just put the anti lock brakes into effect, with little notceable deceleration. The deer somehow made it across in front of me with literally inches to spare, if that. Then tonight as I was driving the kids the six miles down a gravel country road to church, I suddenly saw a very young deer, barely bigger than a fawn, dart out on the road, stop, hesitate, confused, and run off into the ditch. It was so small; its life was spared tonight, but I wonder about its chances this winter.
So that's the news from Sand Creek. Off to toast my toes under a down comforter, shared with three kids and a dog. And maybe a cat or two.