Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Magic Hour

I love the hour right before the sun goes down. It’s magical, both in lighting and in content. 

Last week, as the temps were at their peek after a long day of climbing from single digits,
I sat on our swing by our main cabin,
just out of reach of the dog yard, but in full view of all our animals.

While I gently rocked, I tipped my head back to capture the last of the sun’s rays as it exited the evening sky. I had just returned from breaking out a new trail on our 40 acres. I was tired of taking a dogsled over the embankment of our long drive, so I came up with a way to avoid that route. Hence, I put in a new trail. Actually, I was perfecting one that Russ had begun in the summer months, over a year ago. It connected one campsite to another, but entered into an area of the woods where no trail currently goes, other than the wildlife. I was overheated from walking in the deep snow. Snow so deep and sugary that it sucked my Yaktraks off my Muck boots. Luckily, I keep watch for such things and retrieved it on the way back through. Now, I was sitting, waiting for Russ to finish with the horses, so we could move into the final step of the nightly chores, the dogs. But while I waited, I sunk deeper into the warm, heavy wooden swing, rocking with a rhythm of the land, enjoying the small break at the end of a long, wonderous day.

I could hear the melting snow drip, drip, drip off the “old mill” roof, pinging on a bucket below. To the right of me I could hear the new roosters, youngsters who aged over the winter, try out their new cock-a-doodle do. Scratchy, screechy and short. In front of me a black American Silver Fox rabbit moseyed up to a white Californian and sized her up for motherhood. In the near distance I could hear the hogs squabble over whose turn it was to spin the feeder turnstyle. Their grunts and squeals mixed with the squeak of the metal as it turned, spilling out feed with every spin. Zip, my faithful companion dog, laid in an alert style on the snowy drive. Content to stay near, as always. I watched out of the corner of my eye. She too basked in the sunlight, absorbing the last rays. Beyond Zip I could see our trio of horses, head’s down eating hay provided earlier, their bodies lit up by the sun’s rays. The goats were also quiet, no doubt either chewing cud or hay, bellies full with their sweet grain and grasses. Several crows overhead gave a call, adding to the barnyard banter. The crows reminded me of all the coyote tracks I had seen on my way out to the trail. They traversed the field and came amazingly close to the barnyard perimeter.  Yes, we had a full house.

My thoughts were quickly diverted as the sled dogs began to stir. They always see Russ before I do, and alert me to his presence. Part 2 of the evening chores would begin. Right on schedule, closing out the magic hour.
Until tomorrow, God willing.  And wondering, is this Heaven?

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