It was grey dawn as I stepped out the door at the hospital annex where I’d been overnight for sleep testing. As I had done first thing when exiting my truck at sundown last night, I surveyed the parking lot. There were no drunks, suspicious characters or questionable critters, so I proceeded. (Not that I wouldn’t have anyway; I just like to be aware.) There had been no-one inside the unlocked automatic doors as I’d come last night, and there was none this morning. The guard house on the far edge of the lot had obviously been abandoned long ago. I suppose the hospital will wait until some madman kills a few folks before they reinstate the funds to have meaningful security. I call my wife to tell her that I’m on my way home, and notice that the read-out on the dash says 65 degrees.
I pull onto the deserted Sunday morning downtown street, go around a couple blocks to get headed the right direction and find myself alone on a three-lane street, headed for my “end of town.” I check my mirror again at the first light and hear the driver who just pulled up behind me give a slight beep of his horn. I return my gaze forward to discover that the light has turned green in the second that looked into the mirror. As I pull away from the light, the guy changes lanes and shoots around me. I can’t help but be amused at the next light when he has to stop, but I go cruising by in the turn lane.
The streets remain nearly deserted as I go through the north end of town. Even the church crowd hasn’t stirred yet. At the edge of town, an almost painfully bright area glows on the horizon, as the dew on the grass makes the golf course appear to have suffered a heavy frost. One of last year’s raccoons trots away from the playground equipment of the nearby school, where he’d probably been checking for treats the neighborhood kids may have dropped. The read-out on the dash now says 63 degrees.
It seems to be grit-gathering time for the birds, especially the cardinals, as I drive along and spook them from their stations along the side of the road. At the first valley farm, a thin layer of fog, perhaps only four feet thick, rises from the over-ripe heads of grass yet unmowed, due to a rainy spring. At the next farm, mown hay lays in the dew, the owner hoping that it will dry enough to put up before the predicted rain comes on Tuesday. At the next farm, a mist rises from the waters of two ponds that cover ground where cattle grazed when I was a kid.
As I turn up the hollow on the road that takes me home, I notice that the little valley is filled with a light fog. I wind up the road of the high ridge where I live, remembering that my wife said it felt like she was driving in the mountains the first time she drove it. It even has a hairpin curve. At least the road has guard rails now. It didn’t until about ten years ago. Of course, I can remember when it was gravel, too. As I top the hill, I exit the forest that lines both sides of the drive up, and enter between fields of another farm. This one, too, has hay down, the owner hoping for a couple days of dry weather.
Before long, I pull into the driveway and park the truck in front of our porch. The sun is now one finger above the horizon and the read-out says 61 degrees. My wife waits in the doorway, glad to see me after a night of deliberate wakefulness. She can put the gun back now. Even the dog seems relieved that “the BIG dog" is back to keep an eye on things. We don’t usually eat breakfast but, today, my wife has gravy and biscuits prepared. After some food and a little chatter, we all go to bed to get a little more rest. © 2016