I’m gazing at the fire and yet unaware of it.
After four weeks of perpetual motion and three shoots stacked on top of each other like a game of gin rummy, I can barely monitor my thoughts. Yesterday a friend asked how I was, I said I didn’t know. I hadn’t talked to myself in weeks.
Having time to think felt like it would fall under an “Act of God” in the production insurance claim. We live such busy lives where even trying to see a friend requires the skill of a chess master and here, I was, hosting my first cabin Thanksgiving in less than a week.
After back to back shoots with child influencers who make more money in a year than I am likely to see in a lifetime, I had decided to race the weather and on my first almost day off in a month, fly up to the cabin with some last minute supplies before the snow set in.
On the list; a large roasting pan for the turkey, a rug my mom had bequeathed me that I dragged back from New Orleans to protect the new floors on this, their first winter, half a case of holiday wine, a festive wreath project, brown sugar and butter for my required “Queen of Yams” dish.
We had shot on Friday and Saturday, so Sunday was spent in a coma with minimal emails to deal with. Monday was busy playing catch up, and Tuesday as I jumped in the car was almost preternaturally quiet.
I had gotten lucky.
As the 395 north unfolded under the wheels of my tires, I managed to have only one work call and a couple of easy emails.
I slipped into the Limetown podcast as I was curious about the new Jessica Beil show, and then eased my way into one of my boyfriend’s “Frame & Sequence” podcast episodes. I was so behind, but wanted time to absorb each thought expressed, understand each careful question. The joy of the Eastern Sierras, my old friends, welcoming me as I went from advanced bio tech drama, to the skill of a paintbrush, the eye behind a photograph, the creative mind of a magazine empire.
I arrived in Mammoth as the first tendrils of the storm started whipping through the brown, desolate, late fall town.
The padlocked daisy chain on the gate was done properly, which I can only imagine was due to my neighbor Greg’s diligence, and the storm hadn’t quite hit as I rolled through the deserted campground.
It felt a bit like one of those clown car scenes from the old circuses where every door springs open, and bodies and props come flying out in every direction. It did seem like a fire drill as I threw open every car door and started hurling things into the cabin.
I had a mental checklist I was working through as the first barrage of sharp sleet starting hitting me in the face, the wind creating medusa like tendrils out of my hair.
First, get the food in. Drop the shutters. Turn all the heaters on. Unload the new rustic bench and vintage folding chairs I had discovered in the little town of Clovis. Return the borrowed table to the mudroom. Close all the faucets in the cabin. Run up the hill and reconnect the water system. Load in extra drinking water and clean towels.
It was a sprint, and as I finished the first soft snowflakes started to fall. I didn’t want to risk my car getting stuck inside the campground if they closed the second gate, so raced to dash back to the lodge and back before the storm worsened.
My timing was at once amazing and also a little scary. One-hour delay and I wouldn’t have made it. But I was in and all was well.
I step outside with a glass of chilled Rose, tis the season. The snow settles on my closed eyes as I turn my face to the sky. I breathe in the cold air, it drenches me. Calm finally. There is yoga and there is cabin.
And then there is cabin.
The fridge isn’t working.
Was it broken? Did I make a mistake buying it off of Craigslist? Is the breaker tripped? Could I get anyone out here to fix it before the road was buried? Did the endless, much publicized, fire prevention power outages by Edison break the Italian fridge? I mean it was of “Good Italian quality” after all!
By morning my milk was frozen. As well as my salad.
I guess the fridge is working.