From the Back Roads

Sabbatical Day Two

A frosty northwest wind blew all night. I nearly froze – would have – I’m convinced, had it not been for two small electric space heaters I found in a closet in the bathroom and a heating pad I’d thrown in my suitcase at the last minute. Actually you could say it was the heating pad that saved me, since I was not comfortable leaving the heaters on all night. The coffee pot worked like a charm, praise be! I needed the hot brew in a desperate way. After a couple of cups, I bundled as if for the North Pole and ventured out toward the lake where mist ascended, wispy and white from the water, blurring edges along the shoreline and the folds between the hills. As I made my way through high weeds, a flock of coots and a few mallards flushed from a cove nearby causing me to startle and gasp.

Water levels are pitifully low on all the Highland Lakes in Texas. Not since I was a small girl has there been such a drought. The pier, from which I took this photo, is on dry land a football field’s distance from the water. Recent winter rains are helping but lasting recovery is a long way off.

A dog belonging to the proprietor made morning rounds while I was on my way back to my cabin from the dry-docked pier. I recognized her breed as some sort of working dog, sheep herder maybe, and this made me trust her even as she barked a warning at me. I held my hand out for her to sniff. She indicated I could pass but warned with her eyes and ears that I should be on my best behavior.

Back inside the cabin I discovered I had only two matches to light the stove. The first match fizzled out – too long in the damp, I suppose. The second took and I was able to light the burner for a scrambled egg. However, I knew I’d have to stop by the office for more before the landlords left for wherever it was they were going for a few days. Having a way to cook wasn’t my concern, since I’d brought microwavable food. Mostly I wanted a way to scramble eggs and to heat and dry some of the damp cold in the cabin. The space heaters were maddeningly noisy.

By mid-day the affects of isolation crept up my spine. The television displayed nothing more than flickering snow. No telephone, no internet connection either. But I decided I could post to my blog after returning home just as well as in real time. The solitude suited my purpose perfectly.