My roommate’s best friend stopped by today to pick up a decrepit rug which has lined the concrete carport for years. In fact, I’ve been somewhat amused to park my Volt on a rug for the past few months of living here. Her husband sat in the truck while we hefted the rolled-up rug into its bed. No longer shy in my crone years, I wondered aloud if he could help, but she said he’d injured his arm when their donkey decided to go left as he went right. This is the same donkey which brays loudly & thoroughly from his pen on the far corner of town. Many mornings, I hear this particular snorting, hoarse ‘call of the wild’ as I’m waking up. Fortunately, my timing seems to be opening my eyes just before the alarm. This donkey, however, was not the one who sang along with the Easter Service in April. That one was a different donkey who lives on the opposite side.

Just about every morning when I wake, after the donkey-calls, I hear someone banging their trashcans from atop the hill – which means the sound carries down & across our town-in-a-valley. Since the few of us who have trash pickup own a black plastic wheelie-bin, I wondered who had metal cans & why they’d bang them every single day at 5:30 a.m. I finally figured out it’s the horse that lives with the singing donkey beating his own drum, sending out a tattoo about breakfast now, please.

On the days I walk east, often there are two black dogs who clamber over the broken stone fence to rush me, snarling & barking, hackles raised. So much for the leash law – but we have no police here anyway to enforce it. I’m not an animal abuser, but I do sometimes wonder how much a Taser would cost, & if I could secrete it in my clown clothes worn for workout. Best not go there, tho, eh?

Living mostly off the grid does require tolerance for the unexpected outdoors. Like the cow sleeping on the road under the mailbox as her calf (or the back half of it) blocks the westbound lane. Or the brown horse making her way sidewise down a steep hill to come over for a scratch. Or the determined tarantulas crossing the street just in front of me, or the rattler in front of the post office steps after rain.

I love to walk in the morning. In Missoula, where I stayed at The Wilma for a short time, we had an old fella who’d stand at one end of Main Street to holler “HEY!” from about 5:45 to 6:15 every morning rain or shine. Amazing how sound carries at that hour. Perhaps this was his Sun Salutation.

Once I read about a man who put up a sign along the edge of his farm telling people that this was a farm, that animals lived here & his animals did what animals do, unashamedly, in “flagrante delicto” & not to be surprised at their activities, their smells, their unabashed enthusiasm for physical life in all its forms & functions.

(Which reminds me about the time I took my girl scout troop to the zoo where a monkey was delightedly pleasuring himself in his cage…we should have gone to the Snake House, I guess.)

Today I met a man standing in the field next to our B&B, with a coffee cup in one hand & a cig in the other, who smiled & said he was standing out there at dawn as he was trying to quit smoking.

So I guess this blog doesn’t really have a specific point, moral or story. I’m just telling you about my favorite time of day & some of its delightful surprises. I mean, any morning that includes all this deserves to be written about. Why not here?

I’m always talking about how wonderful it is to be able to paint, but just give me a thousand words & I’m happy.





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