I am usually sitting in front of my computer writing, but tonight is a special night. We’ve been in the country for about a week and a half now and I’m feeling a nice country vibe. It feels calm and it feels right.
Living in the country is not for everyone. For some, it’s an opportunity to fully appreciate a completely calming environment, void of the sounds and smells of what has become everyday life to many. It’s a time to live among the many creatures in the woods. It’s looking at all the stars at night and feeling quite small, but grateful. The smells, the sounds of the country are inspiring. For others, it’s “That’s all great, but how far do I need to drive to get a loaf of bread?!”
While I respect everyone’s point of view, I do recognize how I feel. Rest assured we have had our share of cozy nights in front of the fireplace, but tonight I sit with my pen and pad on an old rocking chair in front of that same fireplace. It is warm and inviting. It is very peaceful and special, knowing that my girl is just in the other room sleeping.
We love making fires in the fireplace and to make these fires one needs wood to burn. Having woo d for the fireplace is just as important as having food for the table. I take walks through the woods to find logs and twigs but I do find myself looking on the side of the road for firewood as I drive to the grocery store. I’m tempted to stop and toss a few logs in the car, but think this is just as bad as stealing someone’s horse back in the old west or cutting into a gas line during the gas shortage back in the 70s. May not be the best choice.
You can’t help but feel a renewed appreciation for wide open spaces of gorgeous nothingness. It’s driving to the store at night in complete darkness only to see a burst of green way off to the left on the side of the mountain about a mile away. I never thought the sight of a car’s lights reflecting off the trees could be so spectacular. The absence of congestion and excessive activity are what makes it so appealing and what probably makes the people who live it a little warmer and chilled.
When we leave to come back home we are very careful about making sure certain things are taken care of before we go. This past week I spent a nice quiet day alone there to do some writing and relax a bit. When I left to come home, I went through my mental checklist. Deck door locked? Check. Fire is out in the fireplace? Check. Lamp and coffee machine are unplugged in the kitchen? Check. Heater unplugged? Check. Front door locked? Check. I’m good to go so I head out to begin my hour and a half drive home.
As I’m driving I continue to go through the mental checklist to make sure I took care of everything. After a decent amount of doubting that I did, I finally get to the point where I know I did. Yes, all is ok. So as I drive a little more, I am relaxed, thinking of stuff to write about, thoroughly enjoying the moment and getting excited to see my girl when an hour into the drive home, it hits me, “Did I unplug the coffee machine??!! I know I did, but did I? Sure I did. Of course I did.” And with that I decided to turn around to go back and make sure I did.
So I pull into a rest stop to call my girl to inform her, with a fair amount of embarrassment, that I’ll be a tad bit late because I have to go back to the cabin to basically make sure the coffee machine that I’m absolutely, positively sure I unplugged is unplugged. Sometimes there’s that positive guy sitting on your left shoulder telling you all is ok and there’s that other guy on your right that’s telling you you’re screwed. It’s times like these that make it feel like there’s 37 of those fuckers on my right. So I find a U-turn on the Thruway and head back to the cabin analyzing the various safety implications, as in “FIRE!”, from not unplugging the coffee machine.
If the machine is plugged in and turned off, ok, not so bad since we only have to be concerned about the outlet. We kind of know there are some electrical issues in the house so it’s worth being a little concerned.
If the machine is plugged in, turned on and the glass pot is not in the machine, same as above except we have to think about how dangerous the machine is if it’s on without a pot. I’m sure it’s not a problem, but then again I was sure I unplugged the stupid thing in the first place.
If the machine is plugged in, turned on and glass pot is in the machine, naturally you need to ask if there’s any coffee in the pot? If there’s coffee in the pot, at some point the coffee will burn down I guess and from there what’s left could ignite. If there’s no coffee in the pot, then how long will it take for that glass to crack and when it cracks, will small embers of glass fly onto the wicker basket on the other side of the kitchen, engulfing the entire kitchen in flames?
I choose to focus on the worst case scenario with the kitchen in flames wondering how far the fire department is from the cabin and if they’ll be able to get the fire truck down the narrow driveway. I start thinking about when I’ll be able to see some sort of orange glow in the distance from the blazing cabin.
I turn off the main road only a few minutes away and see only darkness everywhere. Either we have no problem or it totally burned down already. It is a LOG cabin. It’s like a huge piece of kindling. As I drive down the driveway, the cabin appears to be intact and as I get closer it looks ok. The fire probably just started and I’m sure I be able to easily put it out.
I walk up the steps, unlock the door, walk in and see no small flames or smell any burning smell. I turn the light on and look over to the coffee machine that’s unplugged.