A Good One
February 21, 2013 § 10 Comments
This morning it was 5 degrees and blustery, with a noncommittal snow flurry swirling in the arctic air. It had snowed the day before, too, and what with the snow and the wind, the front hill of our quarter-mile driveway was host to some impressive drifts. I hadn’t plowed the first storm, since I’d yet to replace the lift chain that had broken a few days prior, leaving us with little choice but to scrape clean a mile’s worth of gravel road before pulling into Will’s barnyard. “Hey, Will,” I asked, “Would you be able to run us home?” Instead, he scrounged in his workshop for a random assortment of bolts and washers and chain and we cobbled together a temporary fix that would allow us to traverse the remaining four miles of road that separates our place and Will’s. This is one of the things I so appreciate about living in a rural community populated by resourceful folk: Things don’t stay broken for long.
Still and all, the fix was unlikely to hold up to the sort of thrashing a good plow session delivers, so I’d procured the hardware necessary to effect a more permanent repair. Which is how I came to be bent over the plow at 7 this morning, drilling and wrenching and pushing and cursing, at least some of which required the dexterity of bare hands. By the time I had everything up and running I was as cold as I’ve been in a good long while, and I ain’t talking the life-affirming sort of cold I spoke of a couple weeks back. No, I’m talking a cold so deep and settled I swore my bones hurt. With the plow fixed, and chores finished, I retreated to the house, where Penny had fried up a mess of bacon and a big ole pan of scrambled eggs, and toasted the two remaining sourdough bialys I’d made when we’d had company a couple nights prior. The boys love bialys, which, for reasons that thankfully elude me, they’ve taken to calling “toilet knuckles.”
After breakfast, the boys and I set out to plow, and almost immediately I commenced to dropping the front end of the truck into a ditch at the furtherest end of the driveway. We hiked back and I got the tractor going and puttered out to the truck, whereby I proceeded to extricate it with the log winch. I was warm now, and furthermore strangely pleased by this complication; I have always loved the honest challenge of a stuck vehicle, particularly when I have an arsenal of pulling implements at my disposal. With the truck freed, Rye and I finished plowing (Fin was off to his weekly wilderness skills school), then walked back to retrieve the tractor and there was a moment, with him seated on my lap and me piloting the big beast down the freshly plowed driveway and the sun almost breaking through the clouds that I thought it might be the most perfect morning of my winter. It made no sense and yet there it was. I’d been up since 5:30, gotten both fires going, made coffee, milked and done chores, fixed the plow, gotten stuck, gotten unstuck, scraped snow off the solar panels, and eaten breakfast. It was just a bit after 8 and in many ways, my day had not yet begun.
But already I knew it was gonna be a good one, that even if it somehow turned to shit I’d have the memory of that moment on the tractor with Rye, one of those immersive moments when I am somehow able to harmonize with all the disparate strings of my imperfect life and it feels as if everything is in tune. I love these moments, but am never able to predict or concoct them, and they seem to strike at the most unlikely times.
So I slowed the tractor down a bit to try and draw it out and Rye put a hand on the steering wheel and we rode home.