Friday, 26 July 2019

Singing to Skunks

It was still dark when I walked down to the bus this morning on my way to my last day of work before vacation. That's the pre-dawn moment when skunks tend to come out, so I've learned to keep my eyes open for them. Sure enough, this morning there was a cute little one foraging under the trees at the side of the road, a darker shadow among the shadows.

As I went past, I found myself singing quietly just to let it know I was there, so I didn't startle it. Startled skunks are never a good thing. Somehow the tune that came out of my mouth was "Singing in the Rain," with the words changed to, roughly, "I'm singing to the skunk, just singing to the skunk, to let you know I'm here and not to come over here. 'Cause neither of us wants to meet, as I walk down the street, I'm singing, just singing to the skunk..."

I don't know why that particular song came to mind or why I thought of singing in the first place... I don't know if the skunk was a Nacio Herb Brown aficionado, or if it even understood English. One can't assume. This is Canada, after all...

Thursday, 25 July 2019

Off to the Exotic Land of Idaho!

You won't hear from me for a while. I'm leaving soon for a family reunion in the States, for ten days of overeating and staying up too late talking and apparently floating down a river on inner-tubes.

I love to travel, and I especially like travelling alone, without having to worry very much about suitcases and timetables. I enjoy watching people and guessing where they're going and why. Airports are full of stories. I like the feeling of striding through the wide hallways, free and contented. I always pack light, just a carry-on. So long as I have my glasses, book, and passport, I'm good.

The selection of a book to take with me is always cause for intense consideration. It has to be engaging enough to keep my attention and distract me through layovers and flight delays. I have a Kindle, but I've never been very fond of it. After staring at a screen all day at work, I just can't cozy up to another screen at bedtime-reading time. I prefer the feel and smell and convenience of paperbacks. So unless I want to haul several books with me, I have to find one long enough to last the trip. That's trickier than it sounds, when I tend to plow through a book every day or two.

I just finished Louise Penny's Gamache series, and now I'm on to A Year in Provence (again!), but it will be done by tonight. What shall I pick next? Am I in the mood for another mystery? Something non-fiction for a while? I should go through my homesteading books and find something encouraging to buoy me up through the impending harvest season.

Books aside, there's so much more to commend itself about travelling. You learn so much and meet people, explore new places, and sometimes you get to flex some linguistic skills. But beyond that, there's that delicious freedom that comes when the plane lifts off the ground and the tiny town below you falls away and you realize you can't weed the garden or do the dishes now. It's all behind you, and now you have nothing you have to think about or do for the next few hours but sit and read nd look out the window. It's a wonderful feeling.

I know people who have to travel a lot for work and find it tiring, but I'm still at the point in life where it's thrilling. What's around the next corner? What will I find when I arrive? What story will I stumble across? And if I'm very lucky, I won't just read on the trip, I'll come home having written.

Sunday, 14 July 2019

This is why dogs are so good for the soul

Usually I'm up at 4 a.m. to go to work, but some days I can work at home and get to sleep in until 6:00. So my schedule is a bit unpredictable, especially for a dog who doesn't understand how a weekend differs from a weekday. Now and then Brio the Wunderdog will wake me with a soft little sound that, I kid you not, sounds like "Yoohoo!" But some mornings I'm up first and wake him when I come downstairs.

No matter how early---even in the middle of the night---when I disturb his sleep, he instantly bounces up, wagging his whole body and entwining himself around my legs like a hug, as if he hasn't seen me in decades and can't contain his joy. No grumbling that I've woken him at some unearthly hour. No whining when I put the light on. No "Do you never sleep, woman?" when I take him out in pitch black and frigid cold. No, it's only happy happy happy to see me again. Delighted to be with me, no matter the hour. And he has developed a little yawning sound that echoes exactly the intonation of my quiet "Good morning!" I swear he's trying to talk, to say Good Morning back. Reaching out to me across species.

Is that good for the heart or what?