far too much writing, far too many photos

This morning: Cold, cold, cold, inside the house and out. Got up, got the coal stove going. Afterward, made a pit stop in the bathroom, en route to getting the morning underway. The toilet, on being flushed, refused to empty, then began running without pause — a lethal combination. Before my still-half-asleep little brain could grasp it all, the water had risen up to the seat and begun to overflow. I managed to shut off the water supply before waders became imperative. Then managed to get everything clean and dry reasonably quickly.

I’ll tell you one thing: that woke me up in a way coffee simply can’t.

It’s a beautiful, sunny, frigid day outside. Cold, quiet, sedate, apart from the occasional sound of a gunshot echoing off in the distance, this being hunting season. And — not to sound callous — just in time. There have been deer around these parts in wild abundance, to the point that — and I am not exaggerating here — there’s deer poop everywhere. Simply taking a walk around the surrounding countryside has become hazardous to footwear.

Every once in a while, a non-hunter will walk down the gravel road, out enjoying this early winter day. Wearing at least one item of intensely bright orange clothing. It’s that time of year when a simple walk in the country means loud duds. If you want to survive.

During the last couple of days, the concentrated cold has popped open the milkweed pods that hadn’t cracked apart before now, so that milkweed fluff has been flying freely about. Looking a bit like wintertime butterflies, swooping and widdying before passing breezes.

I received a note from Madrid a week or two back saying that if a hard frost didn’t hit before my arrival, I stand a good chance of seeing some autumn color there. We’ll see. At the very least, it’ll be nice to step back in time, season-wise, to be somewhere the deep freeze hasn’t yet settled over.

A week from today, I board a bus that will take me down to Logan Airport in Boston, where I’ll hop a flight across the broad Atlantic. Seven short days.

Damn, these last five months have raced by.

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