There was a chill in the pre-dawn air as I walked along Bedell.
At the intersection of September and October, Fall had peeked around the corner at me, breathing a cool greeting that made me shiver and shrug my worn but comfortable brown leather jacket up farther on my neck. I absently half-grinned my return greeting, equally cool. Weather wonks, secure, warm and dry in their hi-tech indoor control rooms, were yet again predicting a greater-than-normal snowfall. I was disinclined to pay them any heed. I wasn’t sure where, exactly, one finds heed. Not knowing its source, wasting my own precious supply seemed counterintuitive.
I normally walk at a good pace, hands swinging free, shoulders back and setting my heels from old military habit. This morning was different.
I was ambling, shoulders rounded, hands in pockets. Fast footsteps and long thoughts rarely keep company.
With Summer’s onset, I planned 21 days of doing absolutely nothing, but doing it elsewhere. Away. Out of town, and most important, out of contact. Putting a hold on my snail mail and setting up my email with an autoreply, I did likewise with my voicemail.
“This is Granger. I’m going to be deliciously away and phoneless for three weeks. Be kind and don’t leave any messages since they’ll just fill my voicemail box, and you won’t get any response until I return, anyway. So, how about waiting until I get back, and we can visit over coffee. Thanks. Buh-bye.”
Twenty-one. That’s three full weeks, which is the minimum time necessary to begin a new habit. I didn’t have any particular one in mind, yet I feel compelled to be prepared at any time to tweak or change any habit of mine that needs it.
Supplied with a favorite Bible, a few other selected books and pads and pens aplenty, I spent the entire time in or around a friend’s mountain cabin. . . Its floor was of some kind of shale rock, scrubbed and covered with a marine acrylic. Several braided rugs laid here and there, with a black bear rug drawing attention to the fireplace. The head was missing, which I considered foresight. The only real use I’ve seen for a bear’s head laying on the floor is to trip over.
The fireplace was well-built, fitted carefully from native rock and caulked with cement, it’s grayish-brown hearth burnished by the backsides of generations of peace-seeking souls enjoying the pine-scented warmth. A green-black-blue tartan runner laid along the rough-hewn and varnished cedar upper shelf. An antique oil lamp sat on either end of the runner. A small blanket of orange and yellow gourds and artificial Fall flowers lay in the middle between them.
Someone had stacked several cords of weathered, seasoned firewood along the eastern side of the small cabin, against the stone-and-cement foundation and the log sides. It was no big task to move it inside as needed.
I’d moved the rocker out on the generously-wide front porch. It was lovingly made by somebody who knew what they were doing and took pride in their workmanship. It was constructed from peeled and varnished lodgepole pine with a cane bottom. An old red and white star quilt custom-made for the back was laid over it, tied down by attached strings. Alongside the rocker I placed a small table I found just inside the door. The table was made of split pine, also varnished or painted with acrylic to protect it from mountain moisture and constant use.
I looked around with my spirit’s eyes. The accomodations seemed suited for an overloaded creative mind to get unkinked.
It was perfect. Well, the last two weeks were. The first week I spent fighting the urge to turn on the radio. That was the only thing in that cabin that could qualify as “a device”. I spent several harrowing months during that week, kicking the habit of checking email or Facebook.
Fortunately, the only tweeting there was by the birds, high in the swishingness of treetops, excitedly chattering over the back branch about this new visitor.
(To be continued . . .)
© D. Dean Boone, November 2015