November days prepare the stage for long winter nights as evenings bow to early darkness. Once the work week ends, a man with a dog has little daylight to pack and prepare for a cabin retreat.
A trip to Wal-Mart yields a basted rawhide bone for my female companion and a fleece throw for me and the sofa. We both will enjoy these simple pleasures once settled in for the night.
Darkness in the forest in mid-autumn is much deeper and more intimidating than on warm summer nights. Although not easily frightened, there is still something spooky about its silence and the absence of light in the midst of the cold barren trees.
Unloading the Jeep, I lose sight of my friend as she disappears into the black only to re-emerge minutes later with that signature wag of a Lab’s tail.
Finding the cabin too cold for comfort is not unexpected which makes the warmth of a new built fire that much more rewarding. Although Nic stacked plenty of split wood during the week to provide ample heat, a cabin feels best when sleeping under the weight of a thick comforter; cool air just beyond its grip, containing warmth of the body’s heat while cold to the touch of its outer fabric. Kuma and I both find 60 degrees perfect for sleeping which is where the temperature levels off as she settles in her bed chewing the knuckle off the rawhide bone. The new throw’s softness seems out of place in its rustic surroundings but pleasures the skin when used as a barrier between the body and the weight of a worn and heavy blanket.
Long into the night after the fire has burned down we both are awakened by a host of opossums under the cabin. The unique audible sounds they emit while communicating and brawling in their new found shelter from cold reverberates through the wooden floor leaving night’s silence broken.
The squealing and tussling continues for an undetermined time as we drift in and out of sleep.
After some unknown period passes, we both acknowledge that thick barriers provide security between our peace inside and the wild beyond the floor.
We return to deep sleep accepting the fact we invaded their home and habitat; they did not invade ours.