Awakened too early by coyotes again. Hearing every bump in the night could be seen as a downside to sleeping with a window open all months of the year, but my days are flexible enough that a 3am wakeup call is little more than a chance to linger in the gauzy pre-dawn world so few get to enjoy. It’s too soon to stir the dogs. I prefer to not send a premature message that our day is starting. Those coyotes were awfully close after all, and our newest dog, Mason, is just shy of six months old. Not terribly established yet in his place on this ridge. The key to keeping the dogs settled at this hour is to not make eye contact, to move slowly and quietly, and to keep the lights dim. All things that come easily at 3am.
I slip onto the porch and get the kettle going on the outdoor propane stove. A handy tool that has made the last six months without an indoor stove barely noticeable. We are told the new stove will arrive tomorrow, so I guess my mornings are about to become quite luxurious. With the kettle on, I head back inside to start a fire in the cookstove, which every single time fills me with more than a tinge of gluttony. A kettle on one stove not ten steps away, and now a warm fire in this stove? Gracious. What can I say, I’m impatient when it comes to morning brew and the outdoor kettle is boiling before the cookstove burns through its kindling. I remind myself that I’ll cook indoors over fire for the remainder of the day. It doesn’t make me feel less gluttonous, but it does put a cup of coffee in my hand sooner, and gives me something to think about while I sip away in my rocking chair, watching the early flames cast a warm glow across the kitchen.
My life feels incredibly simple these days, to the point of mundane, which doesn’t leave me with varied or particularly interesting things to write about, but does feel like the pace I’ve been chasing for a lifetime. I am beyond grateful to be here. I could never want for a more beautiful, peaceful place. I know it’s impossible to halt the encroachment of modernity in these hills, though I don’t mind pretending it’s a possibility. The scent of spruce in the air, so sweet you can taste it, helps to keep the dream alive.