This kind of evening

Sitting on the patio, today facing south. Laptop, keyboard, trackball, all in front of me. Power cord, this time. To my right, wood is smoking in some pretense of a fire, but it serves to keep the mosquitoes away as the evening has become rather still. To the east, a huge supercell looms, lightening visibly dancing among the higher structures. But we’ve already had our rain. And hail. The eighty degree temps are cooled by dampness and a do-nothing breeze. A citronella candle burns at my feet. I’m supposed to be reviewing a cigar.

Supposed to is argumentative. It’s entirely my choice. I came out to enjoy a cigar, and enjoy the evening, the lightening, the lowing of cattle at the sale barn. I’ll get to the cigar. I’ll get to lighting the fire, too, if it doesn’t take off soon.

I’m waiting for my brother to get home, his home in Phoenix, so we can share a cigar together over Zoom, and watch some Blacklist or Lost in Space. Or maybe we’ll Minecraft. I just know I wanted to come out and write a bit.

It’s a good night for writing, says I as the huge log on the fire combusts: now we have flame!

It’s a good night for writing. It’s been a beautiful spring day, and I was able to be out in it.

Man that log stinks.

I was able to be out in it. I took off after lunch with a copy of the county map and drove south to the river road, then east, looking for good places to build a monastery, good places to plant wildflowers and fruit trees and raise bees. Places you can’t see from the highway. Places with good elevation changes and good views of the river.

Such does not exist.

I did find some groovy roads, the kind you wonder why this road is as frequently traveled as it is, let alone maintained. The answer to the first question is, oil leases. You have to be able to access oil wells some how. I saw a tanker hauling ahy up this steep knob of a cliff. Turns out he’d need to be hauling ahy to get up the thing. Still, it wasn’t in my expectation set to see.

Anyway, the river option seems to be out. The valley is just too wide. Okay, even as I type that I realize I’m dismissing it too easily. I’ll go back and look again; drive it from the other direction. Get some perspective.

It was the driving that made this a great day, though. At least in major part. I was just reading last night about …ecopsychology? It’s the premise that our level of connectedness to nature plays a significant role in our mental health and even physical well being. We’re talking weightloss and disease resistance just by spending quality time out of doors, in wild country. I’m saying that the story suggested that a city park is better than nothing, but a nature trail is better still, and a wilderness hike is even better. Going off on a walkabout hither and yon is the best, and its easy to understand why. You’re hiking, for one – exercise, fresh aire. You’re engaging your brain with new stimulus, even if you have been there before something is bound to have grown, bloomed, died, been eaten, or crawled across your path and stopped to sleep. Then there’s the whole communing with nature thing and I think we understand the concept there without my elucidating.

So, just getting out and driving, exploring really, seeing new country, even if I didn’t leave my truck… it did wonders for my spirit. Maybe I’ll lose weight, too.

I didn’t linger because when I reached what became my furthest point, the weather started to bloom. Tornado watch for county, T-storm warning for county south, storm building visibly north of home. Mom will need help getting to the basement, and I need to help too by picking up the area around my computer downstairs which is sometimes a challenge even for me. And i put it there.

So, I headed back. Arriving in time to check in at the house, then head over to the storage locker to try and beat the rain. I failed. Instead I was greeted with pea size hail. I could have gotten out in that but eventually it would have started blowing into the locker, so I rode it out for the fifteen-twenty minutes it took. And suddenly it was bright and shiny! And it dried up quickly too!

I sorted some books into tubs, and labeled many tubs so I can stop opening every-single-one-of-them-each-time-I-visit-the-locker! I transfered some recent rescues from cardboard into tubs too. This took a couple of hours, while I was standing in the sun, sporting my boonie hat, jamming to tunes and weather updates on the stereo. Then I headed to Mr. K’s and was going to grab some polenta for a bread recipie. They don’t have polenta. Go figure. Over processed and enriched corn meal, but not raw polenta. So I shopped for supper instead.

I was still trying to make the city council meeting when I grabbed the meat and shredded cheese out of the sacks in back and rushed inside, pulling a pound-plus of 80% lean ground beef onto a plate, splitting it open and seasoning heavily with taco powder and taco blend cheese, then making wide patties, and throwing them on the grill. While they fried I mixed up some tobasco butter, and prepared the buns (except for mom’s, she hates heat). A little toasting later and I called chow time! Everyone was really hungry, and I had used up the last of the available counter space in the kitchen. It was past seven, but my job tonight was feeding my folks. Can’t be helped.

Dad pulled a bag of barbeque chips from some hidden spot, and mom suggested baked beans which I happened to have in my strategic stash. Some pickles and mayo rounded things out and we all ate well. The pudding whipped up from their leftover milk boxes (Meals On Wheels brings a carton of milk or two each meal; they never drink them but instead accumulate them in the refrigerator until there’s no shelf space: then its time for pudding).

Red velvet pudding. Have you tried this yet? Looks and tastes like chocolate raspberry. In fact, next time I’ll try it with fruit and see how it goes.

Anyway, its been that kind of day, and that kind of day deserved this kind of evening.

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May 2, 2018

I agree that there is nothing quite like a hike or a drive to unknown places to open the mind up!