Now that the daily provision of heat is not an issue, we have turned to the production and storing up of food. Most of next winter's wood pile is split and stacked, Greg's work of March and April. Since early May I've spent most of my time working in the garden or the greenhouse, getting ready for the brief growing season that is almost upon us. I think mostly in terms of growing what we can freeze for the winter. Meanwhile, Greg has become adept at pre-dawn visits to the gill net and at gutting the fish he finds there. He's at work on a small chicken coop in hopes that we can begin to have a few chickens after all. He is brewing more beer. All of this is absorbing and complex, time-consuming and labour-intensive. It's not so simple. But with each season, I think, we inch closer to the mysteries of the elements.
Time plays its part as well. I missed lots of what was really going on when I lived a speeded-up, multi-tasking, over-developed life. Because lots of what is really going on either changes in an instant, like a heron flying over, or takes eons, like the waves against the rock. My normal mode wasn't tuned into the extremes. Then there is the subtle unfolding and fullness and waning of each season, which I am only slowly beginning to recognize. I didn't realize that I was missing so much, though -- how could I know what I wasn't aware of? I just thought that life was somehow narrower than I wanted it to be, and I didn't want it to end like that, narrowing and narrowing.
I've been worried about our snake population, but as the weather has warmed up I've started seeing more of them. One or two are in the vegetable garden when I go up in the mornings. And yesterday a tiny twitch of a bright green fern bank revealed the hidden presence of a toad slowly making his way away from me. The snakes and toads are themselves fanciful, out of a children's story, and might even wear suits on occasion, though I have not yet observed it, and possibly the occasion does not often arise. Snakes and toads are mysteries too, enchanting, earthily elemental, present yet elusive. Happy the person who is fortunate enough -- and slow enough --to notice them.