far too much writing, far too many photos

Today — temperature outside the house at 8:15 a.m.: 24F/-3C. A thick layer of frost covered everything in view, looking like newly-fallen snow. Cold enough that the farmers market in Montpelier, usually bustling with people and energy, was practically empty at the opening hour, the handful of humans who braved the brisk weather all bundled up in winter duds, looking the teeniest bit stunned at the weather’s sudden bite. No one seemed to have thought to wear gloves, complaints about aching hands were widespread. I could relate.

Virtually all autumn color is long past out away from town, the countryside looking more and more winterlike, making the ride into Montpelier increasingly gray/brown. Until the small bridge that demarcates the city line is crossed, when trees on both sides of the two-lane suddenly become bright with orange leaves. A huge, old tree looming behind stalls at the farmers market, still largely covered with leaves, had its spirit broken by the night’s intense cold and began letting go as the market got underway. A cascade of leaves came down, the few people around stopped to watch.

An upside to the plunge in temperature: the café I hang at got busy much earlier than usual for a Saturday a.m. –- people heading indoors instead of wandering cold local streets — the activity and sound of conversations a cheery backdrop for my slow swim toward consciousness.

Two weekends ago, friends made the trip up for the weekend, only the second or third visit by anyone in the 5+ months I’ve been here — I have to confess I’m a bit amazed at the lack of interest in coming up for what might be a final opportunity to stay in this beautiful place. Not to mention the lack of interest in volunteering for slave labor re: the ongoing work I’ve been wading through. (Grumble, grumble.) The visit featured abundant time spent preparing and sharing meals, me doing loads o’ clean-up and dishwashing amid the hooha, something my friends apparently saw as a slightly stressed (and possibly slightly anal) response on my part, making the occasional smiling comment about how relieved I’d be when they were gone. The opposite was the case. It was great to have activity, life, conversation in the living space, and that kind of getting domestic makes me happy — creating space, imposing temporary order, watching counters fill up again with food, plates, glasses, etc.

España, te echo de menos

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