Climbing out of the Stew Wagon, this morning, I found a layer of fresh snow, fallen overnight. A line of rabbit tracks cut the beams of my headlights, trailing westerly, over the downed log into bushes beyond. My flashlight revealed no sign of other visitors. Apparently, my moose friend has moved on to more fertile pastures.
Growing light revealed a layer of cloud, resting on the mountains, like a hen on her nest. Even at eight o’clock, the atmosphere was pre-dawn gray. I knew that more snow was happening up top, and sort of half hoped that it would make its way down to the meadow. When the snows get heavier, I’ll stop sleeping there, and move up near the road. Even with All Wheel Drive, I dont think the Stew Wagon could make it out, in deep snow. On a day like today, though, it will be beautiful.
In winter, driving gets treacherous in this National Forest. On County Road 3, there are several bridges, where ice forms quickly. Between icy roads and animals that wander onto them, along with the early hour that we start, here at the mill, every year sees several incidents. This morning, one of the guys from the mill slid into a bridge rail, damaging his bumper and headlight assembly. I dont think he was driving unsafely. It’s just a thing that happens.
The truth is, I’m grateful for the Stew Wagon. I’ve named her Maggie, or maybe it’s a name she chose for herself. I dont know. She’s very capable, taking me to all the places I want to go.
I resisted the name, Maggie, for a long time. It just seemed so plain. As time passes, though, I’m reminded of some pretty magnificent Maggies. Maggie Trudeau, for example. And Maggie Walker. Maggie Thatcher, too. These were some pretty heavyweight personalities. If that’s the name she wants for herself, then so be it.
For some reason, this reminded me of a story my dad told me. Living by convenience, we moderns have grown accustomed to manicured meat from pigs, cattle, and chickens. They’re easy to domesticate and raise. Game meat is off the radar for many. Contrarily, he grew up in rural Oklahoma of the 1940s. It was barely past the homestead days, and the Five Civilized Tribes still exerted a lot of influence over it, even as it is today. As you may imagine, his was a poor family, so they often hunted for food. Breakfast could be a lot of things, but one of his favorites was squirrel. One morning, a sad thing happened. He was out with his rifle, a .22 calibre Winchester, when he saw a movement from the corner of his eye. Spinning around, he fired. Walking to where it lay, he discovered that it was a flying squirrel. He’d never seen one, and felt heartsick over the killing of it.
My father was a marvellous man. His heart was gentle, but he knew the necessity of hunting, at times. This, though. This lovely, tiny creature was not food. It was simply a reaction, on a chilly morning in the woods, and there was no way to undo it.
It was something he never forgot.
Finally, here are some photos that I took this evening. Enjoy!
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~Enjoy the Life you’re living.