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The Way They Always Do

In the evenings, after chores and dinner, I walk the gravel roads. I like to walk without a headlamp, right down the center, let my eyes adjust and my feet find the way. There’s little traffic to worry about; two nights ago, I walked for over an hour, and did not see a single car. My usual route takes me to the very end of a dead end road, high on the hill above our land, where if it were daylight I could see across a shallow valley over to the town of Greensboro and the steely blue of Caspian Lake. Greensboro’s a nice town. It’s wealthier than this one, but not too wealthy. You could be poor there and not feel unwelcome.

There’s been little snow, and what there has been has come in fits and spurts. I’d prefer more, despite the extra work it brings. But there’s not much to be done about the weather except to lament and carry on, so like everyone else that’s what I do, and my old skis, the ones I use when the cover is thin and rocks lurk, still lean against the shed wall where I left them after my election day outing one whole month ago. Though despite the grey weather, despite the dim days and election angst and virus fatigue, it feels more recent than that. I remember when I was younger how time seemed to speed up and slow down; always fast when I most wanted it to be slow, and always slow when I most wanted it to be fast. It’s not like that anymore.

This morning I woke to moonlight shining through the window above our bed. It’s got cold again, and last night’s fit of snow has stuck. There’s maybe an inch on the ground. Looking through the kitchen window, up onto the knoll with the light coming on, I can just see the cows standing next to one another the way they always do. I know what they want. They’re wanting their hay. I’ll take it to them shortly.

15 thoughts on “The Way They Always Do”

  1. Living in suburbia with all these imposed mental and physical structures, I long to be closer to the natural world….with space and weather and plants and animals. Your posts are always that short respite I need thank you!

  2. I consider myself unique among Sacramento runners in that I am one of the only ones out Running in the night without a headlight. (Reflector-loaded). I do not like the bobbing of the 2oz unit; much prefer the lightweight smooth. Even after I took a 32 inch bollard into the groin a month ago. City living.

  3. Ahhhh….a moonlit early morning, with a frosting of snow and a bunch of hungry cows. Just lovely. I know your life, like ours, has its share of speed bumps, but these kinds of moments are exquisite. Thanks for writing.

  4. I appreciate my early morning teleportation to your world. Sitting in front of a fire I’m still building up, headlamp on, one-year old in my lap. She wakes first, so I get up and get the morning things started. The kettle is on the stove, the beans are waiting to be ground. I have time. The rooster has crowed but I won’t let the hens out until the sun peeks over the ridge… I know what they want (I just wish they’d give me some eggs in exchange! They’re taking their winter break.)

    Thanks for continuing to write, I really enjoy my brief visits to your world. Tske care.

  5. Thank you for these……I enjoy your writing and meanderings. –Sent from Yandex.Mail for mobile03.12.2020, 07:43, "Lazy Mill Hill Farm" <comment-reply@wordpress.com>:

    Ben Hewitt posted: " In the evenings, after chores and dinner, I walk the gravel roads. I like to walk without a headlamp, right down the center, let my eyes adjust and my feet find the way. There’s little traffic to worry about; two nights ago, I walked for over an hour, an"

  6. I appreciate you posts, but wish that you’d post more frequently, as your posts are my way of living in northern New England without actually being there.

    My Wife wants to retire in northern NH or VT, as she remembers how much we enjoyed living in Hanover when she was getting her PhD during the late 1980’s. I, too, think about wandering in the woods, past the old stone walls that once delineated the border of somebody’s pasture, or of wading in the White River and casting flies with barbless hooks in order to more easily catch and release the trout and salmon that I don’t want to injure or eat. Then reality hits me and I am reminded that northern New England is a place of long winters, mud season, and black flies.

    Has Rye punched his deer tag yet?

  7. Very briefly.I read this and I laughed to myself with the iroinic laughter of bheing found out by a good friend. I feel the same. Exactly. And I have thought and probably written the first sentence many many times for the last 20 years and never once the last. Then I read it. Knew it was true for me too. And knew that I too was “old”, at the very least older then I would like to admit to myself or to you. Ha Ha. That is the possibility of your genius which the practice of your craft holds within it and rarely, but always often enough, reveals itself. Thanks. ” I remember when I was younger how time seemed to speed up and slow down; always fast when I most wanted to be slow, and always slow when I most wanted it to be fast. It’s not like that anymore”

  8. Hi Ben…..It’s a gorgeous Sunday late autumn morning on Cape Cod, brisk and clear after yesterday’s powerful nor’easter, a weather event I truly relish and is meant to be walked in.

    As I read this beautiful post, the feeling within me, generated by your words, slowly, gently and quietly growing, set the tone for the rest of this day. Thanks so much.

    1. That should read, “It’s a gorgeous, late autumn Sunday morning…..” I never did well in English classes!

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