National Geographic Photo Blog
I now live in the Ozarks. It’s a great house in a great area of Missouri.
In past blogs I wrote on the people here that I am proud and honored to be allowed to call my friends and neighbors.
This blog, though, is about my cabin even further into the mountains.
It is a log cabin set on a hill looking down into a glade which is part of Pine Hollow. On most any morning, as the sun rises, one can watch wildlife wake from their slumber.
Ground squirrels scamper about under foliage and leaf cover looking for a morning meal. Birds start singing, then flying the skies by picking up the winds to glide among the wistful clouds.
Embers in the wood burning stove caused fresh logs to blaze and cooked coffee in an old, blue metal pot. The aroma forces a person to pour some of the black liquid into a matching blue metal cup.
Sitting on the steps, blowing on the coffee as if that would cool the hot beverage, your attention is again drawn down the hill.
One by one, the deer enter the valley to graze. They see me sitting and drinking my coffee but know from my disposition they can continue their eating in safety.
By the time the cup is empty, the bacon in the cast iron skillet is crisp and the grease is ready for the eggs.
The log structure is small and even smaller inside. There is enough room for one, cozy for two. Light comes from two windows during the day and kerosene lamps in the evening. Water is in five gallon containers stacked in the corner.
After breakfast, there is wood to be cut from down wood. Some to be stacked inside the cabin, some outside under a cover, the rest just stacked by the fire pit.
When my son and daughter were small, they carried all the rock to line the bottom and sides of that fire pit. That was thirty years ago and the rocks are still in place.
By the time I finish all the chores, the sun is below the treetops and it’s time for supper, consisting of a steak and veggies.
While eating supper, I listen to “The Radio Reader” on the local PBS station. Every evening during the week a chapter of a book is read over the radio.
The coffee is hot again and there is the sound of a truck pulling up the hill to the door of the cabin. It’s a friend and neighbor. His name is Dan and the coal black hair is grey now. He still walks with a small limp. He lost his leg to a landmine but unless you knew that fact, you’d think he just had a rough day. Dan has never been bitter about the loss of his leg. He always has a smile and a good word.
Over a couple cups of coffee and a few cigarettes we talk about his family and then mine.
The night gets late and under a clear sky the full moon lights the road for Dan to drive home.
After I’m sure Dan is safely down the hill and onto the gravel road headed home, I sit with the last cup of coffee in the pot and make notes on paper and on the neat little voice recorder my wife, Sandy, gave me.
I know that it’s time for bed when the coyotes start yapping, calling to their young.
With the stove full of wood and coffee set up for the next day, I pull my wool military blankets over me. I know peace.
Tomorrow, I’ll write.
Copyright © 2013 Patrick Jones All Rights Reserved