I take my gloves off for milking and lay them on Pip’s back, directly across the knobbed ridge of her spine. Palms down so the curve of the gloves match the curve of her ribs. I always do it this way.
Later, when it’s time to go to the woods to finish bucking the red maples I’d dropped the day prior, I cannot find my gloves. I do the usual things: Search the designated cubby in the mudroom, check the warming shelf of the cookstove (three other pairs, but none mine), blame the boys. Always, blame the boys.
And I then remember. Of course. Pip’s back.
I gather the saw, chaps, helmet. Drink some water, because I don’t like being thirsty when I’m working in the woods, and though I could bring water with me, it’s more than I wish to carry. So I toss back a pint, enough to see me through, but not so much I’ll have to pee. Because the other thing I don’t like when I’m working in the woods is stopping to pee, all that fumbling of chaps, pants, underwear. The balance between thirst and peeing is a tricky one, and I don’t always get it right.
I gas the saw, carry it bare-handed to where the cows are gathered around the remnants of a round bale. They look particularly resigned today. And yes: There they are, my gloves, still atop Pip’s back, exactly as I’d left them nearly two hours before, and I wonder why she hasn’t tried to shake them off, or if she’s even noticed their small weight, or perhaps been broken to it by all the mornings I’ve laid them atop her.
I set the saw down, pluck them off her back, slide them on. Glad for them. Because they’re good gloves, and good gloves don’t grow on trees.
Music: The Turnpike Troubadours doing Doreen. Fan-freaking-tastic!