June 22, 2006

out of the romance, deeper in

A little over a week ago I was likely bit by a brown recluse spider - three times. It looked really bad for a few days there, but now it is starting to get better, so I'm hopeful that my leg isn't going to fall off.

Then last week, a f*ing huge bull snake came into the yard. Bull snakes aren't aggressive or venomous, but they look a heck of a lot like a rattlesnake and can sure scare the crap out of you. [Especially when they are 6 or 7 feet long and as big around as my arm!] Grandma used to always say that bull snakes come in pairs, so I keep expecting to run into the OTHER bull snake.

There has also been a garter snake (or two...or eight?) lurking around the front door. We crossed paths about 4 times on Monday - once I nearly stepped on her with bare feet. I've decided to just start thinking of garter snakes like toads. I wouldn't want to step on a toad with bare feet either, but if I did...oh well.

And then on Tuesday, I was picking mulberries in some pretty crazy wind. Well, technically, I no longer 'pick' mulberries so much as 'make fall' onto sheets spread on the ground. I was climbing up in the tree to shake some of the higher branches and I was being very careful, because the wind was nearly strong enough to blow the ladder (and me with it) over. Safely back on the ground, I was adjusting the sheets and putting rocks around to keep them from blowing away, when the ladder fell...on me...knocking the wind out of me - from behind...and doing a real number on my spine. It pretty much hurts a lot.

Also, I'm at battle, in the kitchen, with MICE. There is some crazy mutant mouse that has started eating plastic and wood - all the wood handles on the knives have been chewed on, the spatulas are basically un-usable and the measuring cups have substantial nibble marks. That's not to mention the foodstuffs they've been getting into...and all the 'tracks' they've been leaving in every drawer and cupboard. So I got out the traps. The first morning after setting them, I was kind of hoping that I hadn't gotten one. I had. But also, one of the traps was clean of it's peanut butter and hadn't been tripped! That was when I started to feel less sympathetic. The second day, I got another mouse. And a different trap (set in the same place) was yet again clean of peanut butter, but no mouse. That little trickster is gonna get it...eventually.

It has also been really hard to be a letterpress printer out here, thus far at least. My studio isn't quite set up and I no longer have a paper guillotine, which has led to a few fiascos already. It has been a little frustrating to try to integrate my letterpress-life with this new ranch-life. And I think I am a little resentful of the printing projects that I have looming -- I need to be planting tomatoes and putting on the window screens and making mulberry jam. I think this place is going to necessitate changing the type of projects I take on. The cottonwood fluff and bugs and dust fly through my studio and I LIKE IT, but I imagine fancy folks won't want cottonwood fluff marks inked onto their wedding invitations.

So yeah, it's not all sunsets and berry-picking and adorable canine companionship. I haven't stepped completely out of the romance. But I have dug in a little deeper this past week or so. Deeper into the muck and darker spaces.

But also...
Yesterday, two of the cats let me pet them. And the toads came out of hibernation and started making their way into the yard (with a little encouragement from me). And soon I'm heading to Omaha, to see my brother, and then to fly to New Orleans! I'm excited to see Sarah, but I really don't want to leave this place and Gus and my baby basilico and the ripening mulberries...or even the little garter snake. By the time I get back, the sweet peas will have sprouted, the tomatoes will have blossoms, and mulberries will be about finished for the season. Everything moves so fast, this time of year.


Sunny said...

Uh . .. you're going to see Sarah? What about New York?

The romance still has me. Coming home from days of conferences in the Citigroup Center in Manhattan, where I've had to wear a business suit and give out my card, feels far more than just hundreds of miles away from your ranch.

I think anyone that reads this will be envious. You should write a book. But I guess blogs are the new books? Everyone has such different lives, and yours is awful unique right now. I'm so glad.

Amber said...

I had a dream about you right after you left--you had hopped on the first plane out of Nebraska because you missed Berkeley so much. You had only been gone like 2 days and I was like "didn't you have to drive? did you even arrive in nebraska before you left?" Anyway, glad to see you're enjoying it a little more than in my dream. I'll keep watching for updates.

Clairice said...

It's like a "Walden" for the internet blogger set! I love it!

right now i am "funemployed" in SF but i definitely think that the next step will be in the right direction! we'll see!

take care of yourself. see you in september? i miss you!