Thursday, December 10, 2015


It happened again last night.

I woke up about 1:00 a.m. to the sound of some distressed critter screeching outside my bedroom window. Then, my eyes started burning.

Another skunk bombed the air intake of the heating system.

I climbed out of bed and turned on the outside lights. No, it wasn't Geoffrey the Glamour Skunk. It was one of his little cousins, a cat-sized black furball with one tiny pouf of white on the top of his head, toodling around in the back yard next to the HVAC unit.


Turning off the outdoor lights, I climbed back into bed and hoped the ladies at my morning exercise class wouldn't be offended by any residue of my new household air freshener.

I love life in the country!


The varmints. Okay, I am not particularly fond of skunks nosing around the heater or 'possums on the porch or snakes in the hen house, but it is pretty cool to watch deer grazing in the field next to the house in the early morning mist. I love the bunnies that venture timidly out of the woods to nibble grass, and the chipmunks that keep house in the woodpile.

The stars. With no ambient light from shopping centers and street lights, the night sky out here is as black as coal, and the stars - especially in winter - shine so brightly that I almost believe they are alive. Honestly, on a moonless night, a person could get drunk on the starlight out here.

The birds. Even now, in winter, the air is filled with birdsong in the early mornings. Tiny juncos have flown in for the season, their sooty gray bodies peppering the driveway. Sunny yellow goldfinches, saucy blue jays, brilliant cardinals. There is something magical about coming up on a lone blue heron back on the pond, about a flock of wood ducks rocketing off the water in surprise or a red-tail hawk keening overhead.

The trees. I love, love, love the trees in winter, their bare branches stretching skyward like impossibly thin fingers, weaving a lacy veil between me and the far hills.

The sun creeping over the hay field in the morning, turning it from gray to gold to green. The sunset in the evening, setting the entire field on fire.

The smell of mouldering leaves, the earthy aroma of cows and horses, the sharp tang of cedar and of smoke from the chimney.

A cup of hot spiced tea at the end of the day, while I curl up on the couch under a fuzzy blanket to read. Marshmallows toasted in fireplace. Hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and a dash of nutmeg. Christmas cookies! Mmmm!

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