At the midpoint of eight Janless days I am happy to report that speculation I could not survive left to my own devices has been exposed as groundless slander. Jan is on the west coast indulging her helpless passion for 15-month-old granddaughter Lexi. To judge from the euphoric tone I hear on the telephone the visit is matching if not exceeding all expectations.
No one has volunteered to fill the temporary shack chatelaine vacancy; I make do without a fair-sex presence. I’m even able to identify an advantage or two. I am not insistent on the three-square-meals-a-day rule my better half touts. I vowed to shed 12 pounds during the hiatus. By the end of yesterday’s exertions I was already down by 10.
I spent another long day with Bob Nagel cutting birch and maple to improve his view of the Bird Islands. I now have a small mountain of firewood, enough to fill the woodshed ten times over. How to initiate the daunting task of splitting such an intimidating lode? I decided to tackle the job methodically, using the 6-lb maul on 20 rounds at a time. In the first effort 20 led to 40, then 60, then eventually a hundred. If I keep it up perhaps I’ll have completed the task by October and have a brawny right arm to boot.
For my money the first half of August has always been the best of the best in a Big Bras d’Or summer. Nothing dissuades me from that opinion this season. Bob’s blueberry bonanza is at its peak. The black flies and mosquitoes are abated. Recent days have been just enough cooler to make a long bike ride endurable. The water temperature at the swimming hole below the cabin is just the way I like it. Shorebird migration is under way. The Perseid meteor shower, always a grand show on a starry August night, unfolds in just a couple of days.
Friday brings Jan back to Bigador, together with brother Marc and nephew Cai. I’d like to claim that living alone in the woods suits me as well as it did the great Thoreau; in truth I shall not grieve civilization’s return to the Big Bras d’Or cabin.