I milked early the morning, the moon still visible in the sky, the air heavy and fragrant with the remnants of nighttime rain. I love when it rains in the night, and just hard enough that I woke in the dark to raindrops on my face angling through the open window above my head. Huck the cat sleeping at my side, beyond range of the window and thus unperturbed. I sat up and pulled the window down, but not quite all the way, because I wanted to hear the rain as I drifted back to sleep. Huck rose, rotated himself a time or two, and settled down again, purring softly.
I like sleeping next to animals, and I like being woken in the night in such a gentle way, all the unbidden thoughts and memories that rise to the surface during these semi-conscious moments. Last night it was me riding my Big Wheel in the swath of shorn grass behind my father as he mowed at the cabin where we spent most of the first six or seven years of my life. Which is odd, because I do not recall there being a lawn, but the image and sensation of it are so strong. I’m certain that’s where it was.
My parents still own the land where that cabin still stands, though it’s been many years since it’s been fit for human habitation. It’s about 90 minutes north and west of here; I haven’t been there for nearly a decade. It’s a beautiful piece of land, 150-acres or so, not far from the Canadian border. I think maybe I’ll head up there again soon, wander the woods a bit.
By the time I finished milking I could still see the moon, but only faintly. The sky patches of grey and steely blue. I walked back to the house with the bucket of milk, moving slow, thinking about how much I have to do today, thinking I should move faster, put this task behind me and move onto the next. Thinking that I’m pretty sure I never got my boys a Big Wheel, and how I wish I had.