I was heading up to get the mail this afternoon when a cowgirl rode her horse out of the woods and handed me part of the string of lights that disappeared from the tree outside my front door. She found it tangled in the barbed wire fence between my woods and the neighbor’s barn. I’m so grateful to know that it came off, and am telling myself the story that because she found part of it so far from the house it means the deer was able to escape all of it unharmed. I’m grateful for my good neighbor and her thoughtfulness in bringing me the evidence.
I’m also grateful that another neighbor braved the cold, clear day to come over and cut off some of my hair!
I’m also grateful for the OFF button on the TV remote. I let myself get sucked into the first season of ‘The White Lotus’ a month ago. I found it oddly compelling, and so watched the second season also, just catching up tonight with the penultimate episode, which took a very dark turn. I can read and watch all kinds of things, but one of the things that really disturbs me is certain kinds of betrayal. I turned the TV off and found myself shaking and jittery. I had to do a vagal nerve meditation to calm myself. Obviously, though, I’ll watch the season finale which airs tomorrow, but maybe not for a few days, and only because I hold out hope for a particular character’s unlikely deliverance. And also because of a grudging respect for the show’s virtuoso storytelling.
Maybe the best sourdough bread yet, at least it looked like it to Wren. And it couldn’t have been simpler! Mix together four ingredients, wait awhile, fold it a bit, wait some more, and bake in a cast iron dutch oven. I’ll definitely practice this recipe again soon.
Then I whipped up some crispy fried tofu with homemade sweet n sour sauce for dinner. I didn’t have potato starch so used corn starch, so it doesn’t look quite as good as the picture in the NYT. But it was definitely crispy. I used up the last of the apricot jam in the sauce, what a great idea, and some homemade paprika. I’ll make this recipe again too. I’m grateful for this abundance of simple good food.
And now I have a perplexing story to share. I noticed a couple nights ago that the globe lights on the tree outside my front door weren’t lit up, and assumed the catmint had overgrown their solar panel. Today I checked the panel, and saw the cord had unplugged from the panel. When I looked for the cord, I realized that it was gone. I was baffled as I searched the tree and saw that the whole string of lights had disappeared. Nowhere to be seen in the tree or anywhere around. Wind? Then I wondered if someone had pranked me. Then I noticed a few twigs on the ground where I knew I’d raked pruning. And then I saw some fresh scars on the limb where the twigs had been torn away. And then a horrible scenario arose in my imagination. I still can’t make sense of it.
The bucks are no longer in velvet, so I don’t know why one would be rubbing antlers on this limb, but they are in hot pursuit of does all over the yarden. So that was my first guess, a buck–and then his antlers tangled in the light string and he pulled the whole thing off the tree in his frenzy to escape, and ran off trailing a string of 3″- globe lights. I looked all around the yard at that point, hoping to find them, but nothing. As I searched, an even worse image came to mind: a doe had been nibbling and caught the line around her neck, and run off tangled up in the lights. But there wasn’t much to nibble except some thorny twigs. I feel pretty sick about it. If someone did prank me, all is forgiven and you can keep the lights, if you just let me know!
I wish that’s what happened but I don’t really think so. Bucks have been seen around here with big pieces of field fence wrapped in their antlers; a doe was spotted crossing a field with a five-gallon white bucket hanging around her neck. One of the worst moments in my garden happened a few years ago when a doe got her head stuck in the fence around the Fuji apple tree. After much thrashing, she wrenched herself free and I immediately removed the fence and rolled it up out of the way. We inadvertently create wildlife traps when we humanize our landscapes. I’ll never again string lights in an outdoor tree. I pray that whatever animal ran off with this string managed to shake it off and escape uninjured. I hope one day soon I’ll find those lights out in the woods on the ground so I know for sure. I feel a terrible compassion for any suffering that might have happened to another creature, but I’m truly grateful for the ability to feel some self-compassion for my own suffering of imagination and guilt.