The best research tool I have is the “find” tool on my computer desktop. It lets me zip through several thousand pages of county agendas and other materials in minutes. As long as my keyword selections are true, I can find out whether the land use and private property rights subjects I follow will be addressed, even when they may be buried deep within layered paragraphs underneath obfuscatory topics. It’s tedious, nonetheless.
Buck and I talked about walking the woods yesterday, but we both worked at our desks all day, gathering up in his study only around one for a peanut butter sandwich and a handful of pecan halves.
By three, my whole body felt stiff and brittle from sitting too long, eyes strained, and brain tired. I stood quickly. Snap. Crackle. Pop. Oh, yes. Way past time for a walk and just enough before dark.
“Want to go?” Lou leaps and runs to the front door. The three of us lock up the house and head for the fireline trails, the deep Longleaf pine woods. It’s warm enough for shorts, but cool enough for a light fleece jacket. Perfect.
The forest floor is a mosaic of fallen leaves. A light breeze sways the tree tops. We walk in companionable silence, one or the other of us sighing deeply from time to time, really more of a breathing in of the fresh air than a sigh, a reoxygenation of our parched, desk-weary selves.
I hear the squeaky murmur of birds in flight, and the somehow wonderful sound of a distant train. My brain fog clears; creaky joints oiled with movement.
We wander until dusk, smiling into each other’s eyes, and ready for a simple supper.
Lou has more daily rituals than any dog I have ever known. Timing in the day is important. Order of events is important. Most revolve around meals or treats. Others are “walk to the gate” — a morning ritual, “play retrieve exercise with the purple Kong football” — this one comes after breakfast, “alone time in the backyard with the big round orange Kong ball” — mid-morning when Buck and I are working at our desks, and so on, until we three have lunch together (hers being a Dentastix).
Lou is under my desk right now, head on my foot. She already gently pawed the inside of my left arm where the elbow crooks to remind me it’s time for our morning walk, gave up with a big sigh, and went under the desk in that long-suffering dog way.
One of the last of her rituals each evening is to snuggle on Buck’s side of the bed so that when he fluffs his feather pillows preparatory to reading for an hour or two, she is under them. It’s one of their many games. Lou is 7, Buck 84 next week. They both still have a lot of puppy in them.
Forty degrees and the promise of a sunny day this Gulf coast Florida Thanksgiving eve. Soon, the Longleaf Bar and Grill — loving nickname for our kitchen — will sing with aromas that evoke memory and story.
Onion, celey, leeks, carrots, wild mushrooms, yellow squash, pecans, red cabbage, bacon, tart cranberries slow cooked with apricot jam and Grand Marnier, sweet potato pie oh my, and can’t forget corn pudding.
But first, grind those beans. First principle of my kitchen is hot, fresh, strong, black no cream coffee, and lots of it. Joy-bringer.