10 pm. 34 degrees. Slightly tipsy from celebrating the completion of a graduate-level class I needed to take to renew my teaching license. Knocked off a reading unit and a test, two journal reviews and a reflection essay today, Test scores are in the 90s so I’ve aced this one, given that the complementary review of my first essay and journal review was–complementary. The original plan for today was to go riding with the barn owner, but things came up, so I decided to finish this class off and get it out of my way. Short-term teaching and testing gig ahead as well as working on Beyond Honor, all derailed by last week’s bug. Now I can face the writing with a clear conscience as my brain returns from whatever the heck it was that hit me. The class is all done now, and it’s a good transition back to braining for writing. Damn, don’t know why I ever dreamed of getting a doctorate. I can play this game well enough but–no, I’d much rather write fiction.
As part of the celebration I went out on the front porch to admire the moonglow on the Wallowas. While the forecast says partially cloudy, there’s not much cloud cover over the moon and the light is almost bright as day. A faint wisp of cloud hangs midslope below Ruby Peak, and I see other clouds hovering behind the peaks, but right now they’re not obscuring my view of those glorious, glorious mountains.
Down by Prairie Creek, the great horned owls are hooting. The barn owls over at the bed and breakfast’s barn break in occasionally, punctuated by brief coyote calls to the north of town. The bright neon blue and magenta of some kid’s hoverboard lights up First South Street while he talks to some other kid in a lifted diesel pickup. Then they both head their separate ways, the diesel chugging by my house before looping down and onto the highway. I hear it head up toward Joseph, loudest noise around.
But it fades, and once again I hear the measured hoo-HOO-hoo of the horned owls on the creek. They’re more consistent than the screeeck of the barn owls. A mallard duck sounds off somewhere along the creek. Then I hear a brief honking as something disturbs one of the Canada goose flocks, also north of town. Maybe Mister Coyote is finding an evening goose snack?
Quiet again. I huge myself while I sit on my stepstool, listening and looking into the night as the hoo-HOO-hoo sounds, regular as clockwork. For years the only way I could have this experience was to go camping.
Now I just have to step out on my front porch.
Were all the sacrifices and hard work to get here worth it?