The donkeys are loitering around the house and being seen through all the windows– kitchen, hall, office, and bedroom– as I clean house.
Finally, the recurring vision of them is too much for me, so I gather my daypack and fill it with writing materials—sling the binoculars over one shoulder and the camera over the other, and I walk out with the donkeys and Skookum.
Though I’m still strolling in sunshine, sooty, menacing clouds fill the aerial landscape behind the house. We will get caught in the rain, but it’s been a month since we’ve had any rain, and I want the drops to hit my fleece jacket and woolen cap. Rain will transform this dry autumnal day. For the height of summer smells sterile like hot-burning fire. I long to smell earth and leaf litter after so many months of spring’s fresh scents spent.
And, so the rain begins and gathers momentum, and we continue to saunter toward Poult Wood. None of us hurries. The donkeys serenely browse a few steps here, then there.
And Skookum trots soft circles around us.
I stop and take pictures of pumpkin colored leaves dangling against a grey sky, and pause to see the wide-orangey tapestry matt of fallen maple leaves spread out across the slow waters of Kickin’ Mule Creek.
Then we turn right and enter Poult Wood.
The woodland is named for its many lichen-dripping oaks and a few butterscotch-scented Ponderosa Pines packed closely in a block edging the far western section of the farm. Bands of wild turkey browse and cluck and strut amongst the trees, grasses, native grape, and poison oak. Moreover, Poult Wood is the only place on the farm where I have spied the big silver-gray squirrel. Somehow it has found a haven here away from the ever-present California Gray Squirrel that lives in great numbers elsewhere on the farm.
in this rain,
I recall Poult Wood — the coolest spot on the farm for resting during the impressive heat of a late summer’s afternoon.
And, yes, today it keeps raining. We crowd around a Poult Wood pine, and I soon realize Chippo and Ziggy know which side of the tree is the driest. Hard drops are still pelting me. Chippo’s eyelids close, and he seems asleep. How comfortably he waits for the rain to pass. Ziggy’s awake—indifferent and also bidding time. Skookum sits patiently. His coat is a gleaming wet chocolate and for now he trades his high-energy bird-dog persona for contemplation. Pine scent and butterscotch aromas lull me.
It seems we’re all accepting pausing in a Poult Wood rain.