Roy was bent over the generator, fiddling. He heard me and looked up. “It won’t start. Sorry. I can go to town and take care of it.”
I looked at him, tried to take the measure of how he would measure me. Couldn’t. Said it anyway.
“Roy, this is going to sound wacko. The reason the generator isn’t working is that I’m not supposed to have electricity tonight.”
He looked puzzled. That probably wasn’t something he expected from an airbnb guest. Since Roy didn’t respond, I kept going.
“Roy, when I was in your shed, it was like being in my dead husband’s barn. I gasped when I saw it.”
“I’m sorry.” He cleared his throat, looked down. “I can go to town.”
The sun was already low, tree shadows stretched long across the grass. I wasn’t sure town, wherever town was, would still be open.
“Please don’t. My dead husband doesn’t want me to have electricity tonight. I don’t need it.”
“I can rent another generator.” His mouth set in a straight line.
“Nope. If you do, he’s only going to break that one, too.”
Roy didn’t answer and I went back inside the cabin. Stalemate. Even though the day was warm, it was supposed to dip below forty degrees that night. Forty is refrigerator weather and I don’t sleep well in a refrigerator. But I know how to build a fire, and thanks to Trent, I know how to build one in a woodstove.
My favorite fire starter is the cardboard tube from a roll of paper towels, but there weren’t any of those. I used small dry sticks instead. After the sticks ignited and the small branches started to burn, I was too impatient with a big log and nearly killed the fire. Fortunately, Roy had stocked the cabin with a leather bellows. Want to spread a fire? Blow air on it. Bright yellow-orange flames filled the firebox.
I watched the flames, watched the fire settle down. The big log lay horizontal behind the glass. Little dull orange flames licked all along the bottom and both ends. It would burn well and it would burn for a long time. It would keep me warm.
I sat there as the sun fell and pulled up the night behind it. Now the only light was the glow of the fire. I thought about what to do. I’d made camp, I’d already eaten. Might as well have that conversation with Trent.
When I talk to Trent, I speak audibly. It’s a nutso enough thing to do, but doing it aloud seems slightly less nutso than having a silent conversation within the confines of my head.
There was a question I wanted to ask him but stopped before uttering it. There was no reason to ask. I knew the answer because Trent had taught me.
There was a second question I wanted to ask but didn’t bother with that one either. Different question, same teacher.
So, with no questions to ask, I watched the licking little orange flames and made a request.
Then, with nothing left to ask or say, I thought about what to do next, in this little cabin under a dark sky. Which is when the electricity came on. And stayed on.
Chewing the Cud of Good
Thankful for my friend Ginger, and her homegrown strawberries that are red on the inside instead of store-bought white.