Fire on the Next Hill

last night
a fiery orange light
glowed ferociously
on the next hill.
i thought the Blakers’
barn was burning.
(i left my warm bed and stepped outside for a better view.)

the flames
leaped into the black
and devoured the trees
of the horizon.
i thought the still-green leaves
in the valley between
will keep us safe.
(my husband joined me to witness the spectacle.)

then the triangle
of flames and fire
suddenly settled into
a sideways orange half moon.
61.2% rising ENE
at 11:16 p.m
i thought when has a half-moon-rising
ever been fire in the sky.
(we laughed at one more
2020 wildness.)

my skittish, sheepish
thoughts morphed like moonfire
into a silent prayer.
Lord of the moon, the sky, the earth,
protect us from fires raging
in the darkness
and turn them into
just a spectacular autumn moonrising
in the night sky.
(i slept the weighted, dreamless sleep of peace.)

Retrieved from the trash bin

We were fifty minutes into the hour-long Outlander episode “The Deep Heart’s Core” when the DVD player stopped. Didn’t even give us any warning of weird blips or slow motion stoppages–just died. Just as Roger is about to escape from the Indians who are dragging him to New York far away from Brianna. Not only did it stop playing, but the disc wouldn’t eject. Visions of having to pay for a Netflix disc made us disgruntled, as well as the DVD stopping just at the exciting part. It might take us a week to find out what happened to Roger.

Mr. H.C. is handy with pliers and screwdrivers, so he took the thing apart and we physically took the disc out of the player. We retired to the bedroom and watched the last ten minutes on the laptop. Roger escaped.

Now, I can hear you saying, why do you even rent discs from Netflix anyway? Can’t you just stream like the rest of the world?

Well, thanks for asking, but no. We can’t, actually. Because we live in rural Pennsylvania, where there are hills and hollers, and the nearest 5G network is 50 miles north in Pittsburgh. We have three options for internet service: Windstream, whose fastest rate in our neck of the woods is 1 mbps (yes, 1); Dish networks, which everyone knows are worthless when it is cloudy (and let me just say, we have cloudy here); and a hotspot. Which is what we have. It’s serviceable. It works. Sort of. Most of the time. It’s expensive. We don’t have unlimited data. But I digress. This is not a post about our crappy internet service.

The next morning Mr. H.C. took a look inside the player and (unbeknownst to me) tossed it in the garbage.

Let me tell you, this is something that NEVER happens. Mr. H.C. keeps everything so he can fix it someday.

By the next afternoon we had surveyed our options and they were: 1. Buy a cheap one on Amazon for $45; or 2. buy the one they had left at Walmart for $150.  (I would just like to interject here, that when we lived in Pittsburgh, we had a very modern set up with streaming and a decent-sized multi-screen that functioned both as a TV and a media screen, and if we ever got discs we played them through the computer. It all worked smoothly.) DVD players seem so 90s. So I spent some time online the next morning to see if anyone could tell us how to fix it. The best I could come up with was a YouTube video on cleaning your DVD player.

“Maybe it just needs to be cleaned?” I asked him.

“Well, it’s in the garbage, so it really needs to be cleaned now,” he said, as he rooted through the trash and dug it out brushing off some crusted oatmeal. (No, that’s a lie. There was no oatmeal on the DVD player because we are a zero-food-trash- composting family.)

Genius husband then cleaned the DVD player and tried an old disc we didn’t care about, and then ended up watching the whole thing. DVD player is as good as new, which is a great thing, because now we don’t have to spend our Lockdown money on a 90s DVD player. It’s also a great thing, because now we can avoid the news and watch the last few episodes of Outlander. Unfortunately, we’re a season behind, because we live on a country road (almost heaven, but not quite) where there is no streaming (in heaven the light will be all the streaming we need). Oh, I mentioned no streaming already.

The moral of this story is Never throw anything away because you might have to retrieve it from the trash bin. Yes, our recycling place is closed too.

The real moral of the story is Don’t live in rural Pencilbania. Where there’s no recycling and no decent internet. And the yard signs are all for the wrong guy. (I’m debating about whether to put a Biden sign in the front yard, but I don’t want to start a sign war…)

The real, real moral of the story is Can our country be retrieved from the trash bin, cleaned, and fixed so it works once again?



Morning Coffee

Husband is an early riser.
He gets up early and stokes the fire
And makes the coffee
And puts my favorite mug
On the wood stove to warm.
Often he brings me the warmed mug
And sweet aroma
Today his gesture has pushed away
The clouds
And awakened the sun.

Today is the day to concentrate on the good. Look at this gift of time you’ve been given and don’t waste it.
Write that novel,
call that friend,
read that Bible,
paint that masterpiece,
build that bridge,
plant that seed….