In the late afternoon I drive slowly down the mountain road, my attention drawn to the stream, running lower now than two weeks ago, when it was still charged by melting snow, when it was the first thing I heard when I awoke. It’s quieter now and I hear birds.
I stop at the store for diesel, fill my can, walk past three trucks to pay. In two I see open beers in the dashboard cup holders. The other – a white Ford of 80’s vintage – sags under the weight of cedar posts. Can’t be less than 50 of them, and they’re nice posts. Six feet long at least, none less than four-inches round at the narrow end.
I pay. The man with the white Ford follows me out of the store, carrying a case of bottled beer. No dashboard cup holder in that old Ford, so I’m thinking he’ll do the ole crotch wedge. The bottles clank as he carries them. The man looks to be 55, maybe 60. I bet there’s a day’s worth of work in the back of that truck. I bet there’s a night’s worth of beer in that case. I bet he bought the truck new.
A few miles down the road I stop at Jimmy and Sara’s farm to pick up waste milk for the pigs. Jimmy and Sara and their young daughter are behind the barn, watching the man who came to butcher the cow that slipped and broke her leg. He’s got the broken leg skinned out; the shattered bone protrudes, knife-like. We all stand for a bit, mostly quiet, mostly watching. The sun feels so nice on my skin.