Trailcam “Mountain One” continues to see twice as much activity as our other camera, which is 55 yards away and 22 vertical feet higher. Because it’s placed behind the homesite, we’re getting entertaining insights into what traipses by where we’ll be living.
Around 8:30am today, for example, Mountain One captured a whitetail spike, one of several we’ve seen in the area. Almost exactly 12 hours earlier it caught its first image of a coyote.
The latter is noteworthy. Naturally, we’re aware of the presence of ‘yotes — their howls can be heard on The Mountain almost every night — but they’re rarely seen. A confirmed coyote just 25 yards from our future back door isn’t an issue for now. Once we’re living there, however, we’ll be a whole lot more mindful of predators close by.
Tomorrow morning, Deb and I will cast our first ballots as residents of Arkansas. We’ve been looking forward to that since the moment we decided to move here, because we get to vote for Sarah Huckabee Sanders for governor.
If we were still in Ohio, we’d go to the polls but we’d abstain from voting for governor. No way in hell we’d vote for Richard Michael DeWine.
The day before Election Day, Deb and I ritually do a final review of our choices (candidates and issues) and we confirm the voting location for our precinct. At Second Chance Ranch we walked up the hill behind our house to the polling place, a local community center hosting a number of precincts. Here things operate differently.
Marion County has seven voting locations — two schools, two firehouses, a city hall, a community center and the county fairgrounds. One “early voting” site is across the border in Missouri. One Election Day polling place is in neighboring Baxter County.
According to the county election commission’s website, “All registered voters of Marion County can vote at ANY location.” And, of course, “Voters must provide photo ID at check-in.”
I predict this will be a great experience. We can’t wait — but we will. We always vote on Election Day.
Since the clocks changed yesterday morning, on social media there’s been no end of wailing about darkness and cold and snow and — as if it’s some sort of surprise — the imminent arrival of winter. It’s the same bleating I hear every year. It’s embarrassing.
“Seasonal affective disorder,” you say? Please, that’s only a handy excuse for a shitty attitude. For cryin’ out loud, quit cryin’ out loud and give it a rest. Or at least keep your SADness to yourself.
In the midst of the caterwauling, Deb reminded me (yet again) why she’s my perfect match. We were driving back from Yellville yesterday afternoon and had just crested a rise, in front of us a rolling landscape we’d watched go from lush and green to gray and brown over the last couple of months. She let out a deep sigh.
“There was a time when I hated winter,” she said. “The color went away. Snow was pretty when it fell but then it got dirty. White to gray to black, ugly piles by the side of the road. They seemed to stick around forever.”
She paused. I looked over at her. She was smiling.
“I never thought I’d be saying this,” she continued, “but I’m really looking forward to this winter. What I found out on The Mountain last year was that winter makes it easier to see what’s there. It reveals things hidden the rest of the year.
“I’m actually excited about this winter.”
That’s what I mean by attitude. I love that woman.
Here in northern Arkansas we don’t get nearly the snow some places do, nor do we have long stretches of bitter cold. The days are just as brief, though. We do have winter.
Deb’s decidedly un-shitty attitude banishes depression by grasping both inevitability and possibility. It acknowledges that there can be joy in short days and long nights. Over the years she’s learned to see.
And that, my friends, is a choice that works anywhere.
Deb grabbed some great pics of Scout and Dipstick in the bus yesterday. Here are two of the best.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.