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The Shortest Day

At 7:32 am, the sky can be recognized as blue yet the trees and mountains are black – or perhaps should be described as lacking color that can be identified.  Light shows over Brimstone, and over the next several minutes I can identify it as the top sliver of a waning moon.

At 9:18, I have the sun risinging over the southern high point on Brimstone – from today on it will continue to move back north.  It is easier to spot the southernmost point – dawn comes so early at the summer solstice that I am not always awake and coffee’d adequately to observe it.

The day is dedicated to fixing the tractor’s ignition switch – replacing ends on the wires where the switch rotation earlier pulled them loose.  The last time I did this was worse – then the neuropathy that accompanied chemotherapy made it a task that had to be accomplished without feeling in my fingers.  This time, I had a brief time when I could feel what I was doing before the sensitivity was utterly whelmed by the cold – but the memories of how to do the repair meant I only needed a short time.  Life is good when you can fix your tractor on a cold day.

Then a bit of snow plowing as the day warms – the farm-dyed diesel is close to a gel point, so it’s a quick task to get a little done, then home and park where gelled fuel won’t leave the machine stuck in the way – a magnetic engine heater, set on the bottom of the diesel tank, will correct that problem as things warm up.  The wood rack on the porch will need refilled – and the snow is blown from the trail I will use to carry it in tomorrow.  I’m extremely chilled after less than 2 hours plowing snow . . . and I remember the young man who, 50 years past, could handle long days of sub-zero on snow surveys.  I’m not sure what happened to his stamina, but it’s no longer there.

Before 5, the sun is down and the sky is darkening.  I don’t see sunsets from the house . . . and the sunrise, in a valley between two ranges, only shows after full daylight.

The following day it got cold – memorable, but not fun.  

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