far too much writing, far too many photos

Yesterday, 7:15 a.m. -– I found myself outside the house digging a trench. The electrician who spent the previous Thursday here was due to show up around 7:30 or 8 (meaning around 8:20) to finish up the work that needed to be done. One item in that list was a major cleaning up of wiring inside and outside the house -– the trench would be the new home of the cable to the water pump for the well, which until yesterday exited the house through the south wall into the fresh air, then meandered earthward until it hit the dirt about three feet away from the building and went underground.

It rained during most of the previous 24 hours, stopping around 7 a.m., just in time for me to run out there and get to work before the guy arrived. There’s been quite a bit of precipitation here over the last few days, nature beginning to balance out this summer’s miserly rainfall. The grass is looking happier, less brown and crispy, and the earth beneath it looks darker, more substantial. The rivers and lakes are rising back toward their normal levels, creeks and waterfalls are flowing the way they more normally do, swelling with the inflow of water.

The electrician showed up at the stroke of 8:20, getting right to work, maintaining a brisker tempo than his leisurely pace of last Thursday. I get the feeling he showed up that day intending to spend the entire day here and therefore settled in for a full eight-hour shift, working at a relaxed – occasionally very relaxed – speed. Yesterday, he clearly had somewhere else to go once he’d knocked off the remaining work here, and wasted far less time going about it.

There is something deeply satisfying about watching house details that need attention being taken care of one by one as the days roll by.

Sunday, two days ago, I attached the pontoons to my car and drove through pouring rain down to the central part of the state for some fun with a friend. Spent part of the afternoon in Woodstock, an attractive, affluent town that does a booming tourist trade. It was actually in between tourist seasons – that time between Labor Day and when the autumn colors crank up in earnest – which was just fine with me. Parking could be found, traffic was manageable, the main drag was not overwhelmed with folks from other places looking to soak up some New England atmosphere and air out their credit cards in the local stores/restaurants.

Had lunch in a place called, I think, the Bentley – a restaurant/tavern in an old building that apparently housed a hotel in earlier times. Good food, personable staff, the space abundant in dark wood and potted palms, prices not too elevated. Afterwards, as I spent a few minutes in the dark of the single toilet stall in the men’s room (up a steep flight of stairs, around two corners), two men entered — one from California, one from North Carolina — and struck up a conversation with each other comparing tourist notes. It was nice to sit there out of sight listening to these guys striking up a passing friendship, talking about their home regions and where they’d been traveling, as they emptied the ballast, washed up and headed back out into the day.

Guys in restrooms can be such a study. Sometimes they stand at adjoining urinals talking away (I think the protocol is that one generally doesn’t look the other in the eye at times like that). More often, though, men at urinals just stand quietly, looking up, down or straight ahead. Not to the side, generally, unless one side or the other is free of other peeing males. I’ve stood at urinals where men not only keep their faces averted from other men, they angle their bodies away as completely as they can manage. And afterward? Some wash their hands, some don’t. Of the ones who don’t, a healthy percentage not only waste no time getting out of there, they literally seem to bolt.

We’re a strange bunch, we humans.

So yesterday, maybe twenty minutes after the electrician drove away, a UPS truck brought me a brand spanking new computer. Getting that running and transferring programs/documents from my old, tired laptop has kept me well occupied. (This is, in fact, my inaugural journal entry on the new machine.) In the process, I encountered an error message that necessitated a call to tech support. I call, we’re talking, it turns out to be a bit complicated, the whole process takes some time. The fella dealing with me had a heavy Indian accent, heavy enough that I had to ask him to repeat some things he’d said. During one moment of silence, as we’re waiting for this new computer to re-boot, I asked him where the facility he worked in was located. Turned out he was in a city in southern India – someone halfway around the planet was helping me iron out the kinks in this new machine of mine. And it occurred to me how many miles our voices were traveling. All those words, inflections, tones of voice — streaming through the lines in the form or electrical impulses, through thousands of miles of cable, until they reached an instrument which reinterpreted them into the conversation we were creating together. All to persuade my new toy to play nice. Which it finally did.

We take so many amazing things for granted. This world around us is filled with miracles, some ‘mundane,’ some ‘extraordinary,’ but amazing nonetheless. At least I think so. But then I’m easily smitten by life.

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