Drew is away in Seattle for an Aikido seminar. It's the first time since Ella's been born that I've held up the homestead alone for more than overnight, let alone for the five days total he'll be gone. It's really not so bad, but what does stand out is the incessant list of chores related to cooking, cleaning up from cooking, feeding animals and children, tidying, laundry, watering plants, keeping a fire when it's cold, answering and returning phone calls, pumping water, and monitoring our new slab. Even with one less person around, it's still rather full. Ella has acquired our habits, when she bustles around the house building "alligator gates" and saying "I'm really busy, buildin a alligatow gate". I mean, life in the country is supposed to be peaceful, bucolic, and relaxing, right? With all this, when is there time for enjoyment?
Though it is difficult to break away from the chores, Ella and I did manage to go on a hike today, with friends, up to the top of the hill. It always feels like such a mini vacation to go up there. Maybe it's the metaphoric wide-angle view of reality, since you can see all the way to the ocean, up the Lower North Fork a-ways, and off to King's Peak, along with most of central Petrolia. Or maybe just the lack of human-made intrusions, other than 4-wheeler roads, and cattle fences. No phones or power lines, just grass and trees, springs, brooks, and edible spring foods, and happy dogs. A gratuitous pause at the summit, reclining in the grass, tossing pebbles, and shooting the breeze. Contemplating reality, or life. It kind of feels like what country life is supposed to feel like, taking that walk up the knoll. I think I'll do it more often.