Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Archive for December 2016

Night Games

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Cyndie’s brother, Ben, and his kids came up to join the fun and quickly set about creating a rink on the lake. After shoveling to create edges, Ben got out a hose and flooded the surface to improve it for skating. With daylight short, the incentive to add lighting was enough to inspire a shopping trip for supplies.dscn5656e

It’s pretty classy. Too bad (said with plenty of sarcasm) I didn’t bring my ice skates.

It has been so long since I skated that the arches of my feet would scream with pain if I suddenly hopped on some blades at this stage of my life.

After helping get things set up and running, I headed inside for warmth and appetizers before dinner. There is no comparison for the comfort of coming inside to food and warmth after acquiring a substantial chill outdoors in the winter.

And appetizers have an extra appeal when one has inadvertently skipped eating lunch earlier in the day. I tagged along with the crowd to town yesterday and sat through an animated feature film in place of a mid-day meal.

The matinée flick didn’t hold a candle to the spy thriller that has been occupying my attention otherwise this week. Watching that has been pretty much the extent of my night games while we’ve been up here.

Today, we head back to the ranch where we will celebrate the dawning of 2017 with our animals.

Good bye, 2016.

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Written by johnwhays

December 31, 2016 at 7:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

Tagged with , , ,

Vacation Disorientation

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It’s a bit dizzying to compound my vacation escape from routine by also burying myself in a memoir while simultaneously binge-watching a spy thriller 6-episode series. What day is it today? Where am I again? Who am I?

I’m certainly not at Wintervale anymore.

dscn5650eWe are up in the woods of northwest Wisconsin. Yesterday morning, as I was comfortably lingering in bed after waking up, I spotted a deer moving through the trees outside our window. Then there was another, moving slowly across my view, pawing and sniffing at the ground as they went.

As I watched, the first one suddenly laid down for a rest. A while later, more deer moved into view, and one by one, they curled up in the snow by the first deer. Eventually there were five of them, and they ended up spending most of the day there, despite a small bit of activity in and out of the front door of the cabin as the hours passed.

I like that our little nook is a spot they find to be comfortable for spending their day.

Meanwhile, I’m reading Robbie Robertson’s “Testimony” and finding my mind ensconced in the 1960s music scene that he describes. Between chapters, Cyndie’s parents have us watching the short series, “The Night Manager,” which involves lavish views of exotic places where thrilling intrigue is at play.

Of course, I submerge myself in the identity of each leading character, so by the end of the day, I have lost myself to being a mixed up compilation of people who are definitely not me.

It feels a little bit like being on vacation.

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Written by johnwhays

December 30, 2016 at 7:00 am

Sharp Teeth

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Our precious house-sitter, Mckenna, is taking care of our animals for a few days while we have escaped to the lake place for a mini-vacation between Christmas and the New Year. This region received similar weather to what we experienced at home on Sunday, so the terrain is very icy. Cyndie will remain confined to the cabin where she will continue her regimen of exercising her new knee.

I made a brief solo exploration of the properties and shoreline, did a minimum of cleaning the walkways and steps, and then power-lounged in front of the fireplace with a new book. I also played some guitar, sketched a new sculpture idea, and spent time sanding/shaping a work-in-progress with the help of some new jeweler’s loupe magnifying glasses that I got for Christmas.

It was a good start to unwinding for a few days. I could get used to this.

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The lake is almost clean enough to skate. In fact, there were some kids out doing just that on Tuesday afternoon when we arrived. I found a frozen pine cone and a lone fish house on the otherwise desolate ice-scape yesterday.dscn5644e

Arriving to our lagoon, I discovered the handiwork of some busy beavers with very sharp teeth.

It’s wonderful to know we have wildlife this close to our vacation home, but it is devastating to see our trees being destroyed by them.

They probably think the same thing about us when we build our houses along their shoreline.

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Written by johnwhays

December 29, 2016 at 7:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

You

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it’s as if I was trying to see behind me
without turning around
was it something I had passed?
or someone from my past?
maybe someone who had yet to arrive
I expect I could fill in the blanks
the way a mind is prone to do
like what happens with a familiar song
anticipating the next note
even though it might not get played
you don’t see where this is going?
you might want to close the door
there’s a draft
I can feel it blowing
this seems to involve a lot of waiting
where days turn into weeks
and weeks into eventual years
with ongoing periods of restlessness
that speak volumes
making up for other messages
perpetually left unsaid
basically left for dead
like an awkward silence
of the kind that could fill a room
essentially, there is a reason
and I can’t quite grasp it yet
but it keeps coming ‘round
like a season, ‘cept without the usual regrets
a way of doing things
that makes a lot more sense
despite anything else going on around us
a snapshot of a moment in time
maybe one just behind us
fleeting, and completely sublime
but important
in a particular way
filled with sound and exceptional color
saturated and brilliant
like the most vivid of dreams
the kind of dreams that can happen
beyond just wishing they were true
even though they almost never do
unless we finally decide to stop
and turn around
to see if it’s really you

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Written by johnwhays

December 28, 2016 at 7:00 am

Posted in Creative Writing

Tagged with , ,

Not Fun

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You know that part about me driving multiple times to Cyndie’s parent’s house for Christmas events? Didn’t happen. Chalk this one up as “Worst. Christmas. Ever.” for me. At least I didn’t have any problems with trying not to fall asleep behind the wheel.

A dastardly nasty spell of weather foiled my best intentions. We experienced sleet, rain, freezing fog, lightning, thunder, heavy rain, and as a cherry on top, high winds with scarily intense gusts. My Christmas was spent home alone. I might as well have been a character in the movie.

Knowing the impending freezing rainstorm would wreak havoc on roads, we headed out on Christmas eve prepared for Cyndie to stay the night at her folks’ house. I drowsily made my way home through the beginnings of the freezing mist on Saturday night so I could take care of Delilah and the horses.

Sunday morning dawned with a perfect glazing over everything, quickly convincing me I wouldn’t be trying to drive to the cities for the grand gift exchange extravaganza that Cyndie’s family executes with incredible flair. Actually, it was Delilah who convinced me, as she did an immediate slipping-on-a-banana-peel spill off the front steps before she realized the hazardous conditions.

I could have tried to warn her better, but we all know she wouldn’t have listened.

The horses were way out in the hay-field, happily grazing through the snow, so I left them out in the mist for much of the day. The temperature actually climbed a bit, melting some of the glaze by afternoon, but you couldn’t see the difference between frozen and not, which made it doubly dangerous.

I navigated my way around our property by changing my gait to something that looked like I had aged several decades over night. Even with that adjustment, there were still frequent moments of heart pounding panic as I’d catch myself from going ass over teakettle.

By the time it had turned to real rain and become obvious that I needed to get the horses inside for the night, I was fighting both them and the elements to accomplish the task. They stayed out in the field while I prepared their evening feed in the stalls. They made me trudge out in the soaking wet to guide them back to the barn.

The wind howled something awful all night long, making my longed-for uninterrupted night’s sleep an impossibility. At some point around zero dark thirty I figured out the spooky clunk that kept occurring was from a bird feeder hitting the house outside the bedroom. I wasn’t about to get out of bed to do anything about it at that hour, and in that wind, so I just had to get used to the sound enough to ignore it and get back to something close to restful sleep.dscn5630e

Yesterday morning presented with a diabolical combination of standing water (much of it hidden beneath cover of snow), freezing temperatures, and continued strong winds. The slopes around the barn were coated with very slippery ice. I tried spreading sand over them before offering Legacy a chance to bring his herd out for the day. He stopped and surveyed the surroundings, put his nose down to the icy surface, and then turned around to lead me right back into his stall.

They would spend the day indoors.

Cyndie ended up spending another night at her parent’s house. Delilah did well with the crazy weather, too confused by the inclusion of thunder in December to even bark at it. She happily agreed with me to cut our walks to the shortest distance necessary. She and Pequenita became my silent companions, waiting out what nature was serving up, clueless to the joyous family gatherings I was missing.

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She braved the gales with me to inspect the drainage ditch that is backed up a bit with a mixture of snow and water.

It’s going to take some time to get back to decent snow conditions around here, but probably not as long as it will take for me to quit moping about my sad fate this holiday. Only 363 days until I get a chance to replace this year’s Christmas memories with new ones.

Here’s hoping we end up with better weather next year.

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Written by johnwhays

December 27, 2016 at 7:00 am

Sleep Deprived

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crafted
by the last thing I remember
in the microseconds
before I would inevitably forget
there was pure nothing
absolute nothing
which is something
in an unlikely sort of way
rapid deceleration
smiling wryly
in my general direction
placid attitudes
with no reason to be
wordless wonderings
wandering aimlessly
waiting weightlessly
beneath whatever was lying around
dripping delicately
the way vague ideas do
blowing in with little momentum
to fill a void
that never really existed
a transaction of inevitability
forged rather forcefully
from fashionably feasible concepts
intercepted unexpectedly
in the final hours before dawn
when babies are prone to cry
and sleep suddenly goes b’bye
acting in nobody’s better interests
one passing moment at a time
the thing that was never there
disappears rapidly
suddenly filling what was once
only mostly
nothing but thin air

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Written by johnwhays

December 26, 2016 at 7:00 am

Merry Christmas

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DSC02561merrychristmas.

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Written by johnwhays

December 25, 2016 at 7:00 am