The magic start when you turn south at Chokio heading towards Artichoke. Even the music on the satellite radio gets better and louder. On Wednesday, in the pitch black night, I saw a sight so arrestingly pink, huge, and flat against the earth that I slam on the brakes- not knowing what I was seeing.
The moon. It's the moon! As can only be seen rising on the wide open prairie horizon.
The next morning, I'm running on ice cleats in between massive banks of snow 20 feet high on the edge of the winding gravel road. It's like running through a glacial tunnel. As I run out of the 'tunnel' a deer bolts out from the other side and runs along the road with me for a few yards before leaving me in the, well what would be dust if it weren't frozen. The deer isn't frantic with fear- maybe worn out from the winter or simply not frightened of me- and visa versa.
Out here in the wild I am reminded of my instincts. Running with the wind at my back, I am hit by a wall of stinging skunk scent. I crane my neck to find the skunk that has to be nearby. I'm reminded that any prey (or predator) could smell me coming long before I got there as the wind blew my scent towards them. Likewise, I would be upon this skunk before I'd notice him. So I run on, alert, and hoping that with 4+ miles under my belt I still have a sprint left in me if needed.
There is the usual hawk in the dead tree in the slough along the roadway. The two o'clock hawk who flies past our dining room window with his partner about the same time every afternoon.
Animal tracks dot the now frozen mud--in addition to the skunks, there's coon, deer, my daughter's and, closer to home, my sons'. I never imagined I'd be intimate with footprints- that they would have a story for me, personally. Can that really be a baby coon already? Is that shimmering turquoise pheasant rooster head alongside the road due to a mink out of hibernation?
And now the geese. They are back- the lovelies. Just a few here and there earlier this week and now, today, by the hundreds. Hopefully soon to be thousands. They are everywhere--flying low and close overhead. Godspeed. The first day we saw them it was cold and the snow and ice were deep. I hoped those geese knew what they were doing. Today, for the first time, I saw some water standing in a field and can now see some dark soil in places.
There is so so so much to be grateful for. These are the days that nostalgia is made from. This place, this farm, my kids dyeing Easter eggs, daughter making homemade peeps, my mom helping clean up behind our creative messes- just like she's done since I was a kid. My husband is healthy and strong a year after his accident.
Outside running miles from home as the sun rises over the heavy spring fog at about a 30 degree angle to the horizon. It happens without me, of course, but this morning I was called to stop running and conduct an orchestra. On the peak of a glacial moraine- so subtle you have to run up it out of shape to even know it is there- I was called to stop, to dance, to spin until I was dizzy- geese overhead, sun breaking through, ice, fog, and feeling stronger that any woman in her late 40's deserves to feel. Paradise. Plain and simple. Paradise.