When the clouds reach down to me, I get a break from this busy, busy world. I hear nothing but my footsteps spattering through a thin layer of water soaking into an old tractor road, and the cooing, clucking, baaing and snorting of my animals. I stepped out of the heavy fog, into my warm kitchen.
I had spent the early morning hours tossing hay to the horses and goats, petting Duncan the juvenile stallion, as he followed me around, and watching the chickens, guinea hens and duck play in the pools of water spread out across the wet yard. The Guineas sang about Bob White Bob White Bob White. Coolio the white crested duck drake made a low quack wuack wuack as he stood tall to display his flapping wings. He always reminds me of a whooping crane when he does this. No matter how ugly the weather may get, this display makes the landscape beautiful. Each hen and rooster came over to cluck me the barn yard news. Why yes, Gretchen, I do think that is shocking! Who knew little Olive would turn into a Rooster! How do you girls feel about having another gentleman around the coop? I greeted them all by name. Hello Peaches! Hello Floppsy, I see you are getting over your molt at last! Hello Whinny, you look lovely today! Could you be a dear and lay your eggs in the nesting box today? I can’t reach your secret nest under the barn without lying down in manure. Hello Brahma Mama Magda! If you decide to go broody again, I will get you some hatching eggs to sit on.
Through the fog I could see the outline of my littlest dogs waiting for me by the house. I collected my indoor critters as I headed homeward through the velvet mist.
Now I sit in the valley farmhouse, nicely socked in and wrapped up in a deep silencing fog. The kettle whistles with two tones, like a harmonica, or a train, just like my grandfather pulling train sounds out of his harmonica. Every time the whistle blows, I am taken back to his fireside performances. I poor his magic over the coffee grounds in the French press pot my aunt gave me after Peter accidentally melted mine in the oven. I slowly drop the filter down into the pot as I think of my loved ones; Family, and friends whom qualify as the same. I poor the darkest of dark, almost black, coffee into my handmade birthday mug; the one with an explosion of glaze dripping down the hand thrown cup, except where a naked imprint of a leaf is found; the one a new friend gifted me when I had just moved South, and no one yet knew it was my birthday. These precious items, and my farm morning routine, are filled with magic and celebrations and remembrances. Sitting on the davenport, draped with a heap of cuddly and slightly soggy dogs, I look out a set of glass doors towards a vaporous meadow. As my heart sails up and bursts though top of my chest, I begin to write.
I realize that while I have loved and missed my big winters of my wild, wild west with two foot snow falls, jumping into the depths of the bottomless powder, watching my dachshunds happily swim through the yawning snow like downy dark dolphins, and walking hand in hand through the chubby cottony flakes while falling in love; I have come to appreciate the feel of being held in the foggy, still, and enchanted winter of the Appalachian Mountains. I have embraced my inner artist, farm girl, and melded them with my Western ways of the mountains, deserts, canyons and the mighty Colorado. I am crazy in love with the world, and I am home.