thousands of fireflies
Wednesday, July 8 2015
This morning I carried a single 104 pound log back from my nearby staging area west of the Farm Road and then proceeded to cut it up with my 120 volt electric chainsaw (which is much more effective for around-the-house use than the battery-powered one) and then I split and stacked it in the woodshed's second tranche (which is still less than 10% full). All of this caused me to sweat prolifically in the oppressive humidity. Happily, I could just hose myself off with the nearby gravity-fed hose (which is connected to the rain barrel atop the tower that collects water from the woodshed roof).
Later in the afternoon, after I'd completed a number of sedentary tasks, I went out and did a repeat of what I'd done in the preceding paragraph, this time with a log weighing 97 pounds. It's not only that I have an uncanny ability to load my backpack with loads of almost exactly 100 pounds, it also appears that I tend to cut sections of trunk into longish pieces having that weight as well.
This evening, Gretchen and I went over to Julianna & Lee's beautiful house on Broadview just south of Woodstock. Julianna had just made some sort of cocktail involving fresh mint and vodka, and it was with these that they gave us a tour of their diverse, well-weeded, and highly-organized garden. They're the sort of people whose tidy, carefully-planned surroundings inspire jealousy. Walking around in their garden with its bounty of mints, salad greens, and flowers, I couldn't help but think of our own, with its sprawling mystery melon sending runners every which way while beans clamber up randomly-placed bean poles and deer nibble off the tomato plants around the margin.
After that, we grazed on crackers with vegan spreads and cheese while talking about the usual stuff we talk about with Julianna & Lee. This time it wasn't so much about the 1990s film industry in Los Angeles. The recurring theme today was orthodox and ultra-orthodox Jews (some of whom are in the family). As a group, they don't have much in the way of æsthetics, all the toys for the kids have to be Bible-related, and the girls can't go swimming in the ocean unless they're wearing teeshirts and skirts. Then there was that time that Julianna & Lee were in Isræl on Shabbat and, because of the weather, they just happened to look like a pair of ultra-orthodox walking to or from the schul. But they were tired of walking, so they tried to hail a cab (which are universally driven by Palestinians). Initially none would pick them up because it seemed so absurd for a pair of ultra-orthodox pedestrians to be hailing a cab on Shabbat, and when one did eventually stop for them, he tried to gouge them with a 400% markup. Other topics discussed included the Greek fiscal crisis and whether or not our parents paid attention to us when we were children (because it was the 1960s and 70s, mostly they didn't). A recurring joke was that all Hispanics are rapists, a reference to an unfortunate thing that the buffoon (and currently 2nd-most-popular Republican presidential candidate) Donald Trump said during his decision announcement.
Meanwhile, our dog Ramona had taken possession of a rawhide bone that she kept guarding jealously, particularly when Julianna & Lee's lovely dog Lulu came near. She kept growling and eyeing everyone warily, though this all kept her so busy that she never actually chewed on it. Eventually I took it away from her so she'd forget about it and perhaps be more social. Only then did she go around giving kisses and being her usual delightful self. Later she found a bone-shaped cloth toy containing squeakers, and evidently it wasn't special enough for her to guard, and she relaxed and chewed on it instead.
Dinner was a penne pasta with vegan sausage with a kale salad, and, since I hadn't eaten anything since devouring a stack of stone-ground crackers this morning, I ate a lot.
After dinner, our conversation continued out on the porch for awhile and then Julianna & Lee turned out all the lights and we sat on the stoop overlooking a vast field to the north. Beyond that field lay Sawkill Creek, the Comeau Property, downtown Woodstock, and the lumpy mountains of the Catskills. While Woodstock and the Comeau were hidden from view, the field and the mountains were gorgeously on display, only slightly tainted by occasional lights on the latter. The darkness was a perfect showcase for thousands of fireflies, which flashed lights completely at random throughout the expanse of the field and up into nearby trees. I don't know if I've ever seen so many fireflies at once; the field was perfect habitat for them, and it was visually deep. Unfortunately, I kept being attacked by noseeums, forcing me to constantly sweep the exposed surfaces of my skin with my hands. Nobody else seemed to be having this problem. We were there until a little past 11:00pm.
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