Saturday Morning


Morning light in the barnyard

On Saturday morning I turned left instead of right out our driveway, and so rode past Dan’s house just as he was emerging on his way to the logging job he’s on. It was barely 6:00, and we talked a few minutes, then I rode on, and he got in his truck and went to work. I rolled fast down a steep hill past still-unmown hayfields and at the bottom turned to pedal alongside the mountain stream, where I soon came upon a doe and her spotted fawn standing in water. Drinking. Each of us surprising the other, the doe suddenly alert, tail twitching, long legs moving this way then that, prancing in place, but all the while her attention trained on me. As was mine on her. The fawn hadn’t seen me, and kept trying to nurse, and eventually latched on. I wanted to stay but now felt an intruder, so began to pedal again. Uphill now. In another mile or so I passed a house where two rabbits sat under the front bumper of a Ford Mustang, the rabbits fat and furry, the car sleek and black. Then over the bridge and past the small house of the man who lives alone with no car and a yard full of perennial plantings. I see him working outside often, but he does not invite conversation, and I know little about him other than what I have just written plus the fact that he seems to me somehow ageless and I’ve heard he walks 10 miles a day or more, but surely this is exaggeration. Another half-mile, and I’m through the narrow bend where the old roadside maples bear the scars of vehicles traveling too fast, too wide, and there are John’s big Devon oxen, still bedded down, those goddamn magnificent horns thrusting skyward. They watch me disinterestedly, even dismissively, almost as if they have no idea how fascinating I am. They’ll figure it out eventually.

Soon I arrived home. I dove into the pond, the water exactly as cold as I’d hoped it would be.

13 thoughts on “Saturday Morning”

  1. Your words paint a vivid picture in my mind. Perhaps you should consider taking the initiative and introduce yourself to the old man who walks ten miles per day.

    1. I’ve tried a couple of times… now I’m trying to respect that he doesn’t seem to want to engage much. Which is hard, given my curiosity affliction.


      1. Offer to volunteer a day of your time to help him cut/split/stack his fire wood?
        My family did that for a man who was something of a recluse when I was a kid.

  2. Perhaps those big oxen have already deciphered how fascinating you are and lie without acknowledgement immobilized by intimidation?

  3. I have no idea how the few cyclists on my road and others near stay alive, with the number and speed of the cars and the winding, blind hills/curves of the roads. I’d like to find some good loops of roads like you describe (I probably could), or maybe I misunderstand you and you have more cujones than I thought!

    1. In Ben’s town? What cars? 🙂 But I was on VT-100 during Green Mountain Bike race, and it was a bit nerve wrecking to pass some 150 or so bicyclists on those windy curves.

    2. Many of the secondary and tertiary in New England were originally game trails that followed a course of least resistance and have slowly evolved over the years into the narrow, winding, and off-camber roads that they remain today. My Wife struggled to find her way around for the first couple of months after she moved to Hanover, NH, in 1987, ’cause none of the roads were laid out in the sort of N/S/E/W grid pattern that she was used to here in Nebraska.

    3. Definitely not more cojones than you think (if anything, probably less!). I just ride the gravel roads. Might see a half-dozen, maybe eight cars during a 45-min ride.

  4. Good stuff, Ben. I get 20,000 steps almost every time I have the “day off” and get to work on my farm. It is probably not exaggeration for the old man. Hail holy locomotion and the devil take the sedentary!

  5. Great post painting a vivid picture around your place…yes windy roads give so many different glimpses and aspects of the countryside…rooms with a view .

    I came home today from my daughters place through windy hills and narrow roads. Beautiful in the daylight but requiring concentration in the dark like I had to tonight!

    Alexa-asimplelife visiting from Sydney, Australia

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