Friday, January 29, the sun set while I typed the last line of my second novel.
Two hundred and ninety-nine pages. Five hundred and eighty five hours.

Surprised and gratified, I rolled my chair away from my desk, two days before my deadline.

What now?

No, best not open the front door and shout my good news to the birds and neighbors.

So I found my husband relaxing in the living room with Michigan History Magazine. He looked up, my countenance ready to disclose something indiscernible.

“I just finished the first draft to Matewan Garden Club.”

He left his reading long enough to give a hug. “Are you happy with it?”

“For a first draft. Since you’ve cooked dinner the past two weeks, how about you order Leonard’s pizza?”

His eyes lit up.

I returned to my desk and emailed the breaking story to several fellow writers and readers.

Since Mel balks at tossing salads, I mixed some bib and romaine lettuce with sliced pear and pumpkin seeds, dressed with sea salt, ground pepper, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil.

Why is it a happy occasion enhances the flavor of the simplest meal?

Yesterday, almost two weeks later, the sunny, snowy morning called me downhill to the hens again. This time, I bundled up. In my sprint to the novel’s finish line, I’d neglected our six Isa Browns, and they let me have it.

“Where’ve you been?” they reprimanded. “You should see the mess inside our house!”

I’d suspected as much. This happens in deep of winter.

“And where’s our greens?” they asked as I opened the pen door.

“I’m sorry, girls. I’ve forgotten my manners.”

In recompense, I turned the straw around and under their roost pole inside the house, uncovering a pile of grain. While they scratched and pecked at leftovers, I secured the heat lamp above their water feeder. “Can’t have your house burning down.”

They didn’t hear a word.

“I promise to visit more often,” I said, and closed their yolk-yellow door.

Warm from exercise, sun, and the ideal winter jacket and boots, I aimed for the double swing uphill.

“Caw! Caw! Caw!”

You hear the bodacious birds before you see them. What were they out to pilfer this morning?

With my arms open to receive all this frigid wonder, I sat on the swing and bathed my face in the sun.

“Caw! Caw! Caw!” Black wings flew above me toward the vegetable garden.

There’s nothing shiny down there, silly crow.

“Caw! Caw! Caw!” came from maple branches high above me.

I recalled my walks years ago in deep snow, the councils of crows held in black walnut trees along our country roads. Yes, I’d missed this amusement our five sunny days in January.

“Caw! Caw! Caw!” they agreed.

Yet, dear Reader, I met a significant goal in January, did what I was sent here to do, I believe.

While Isa Browns laid eggs, and crows held conference caws, whether I showed up or not.

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