Living close to the Pacific and Mountain time zone boundary means an early dawn on our Pacific side, which usually is a nice thing, but not when I have wrestled with a migraine since 3:30 AM, not conceding to the need of a Maxalt till 4:30, and still sound- and light-shy at 5:00. This morning began rather evilly with a migraine, and even after the Maxalt I took too close to dawn to be awfully happy with the prospect of getting up at 6:00, the song of the meadowlark evoked only a vague wish for the spontaneous extinction of its species. My cat’s own morning song exacted similar sentiments. And even after my headache abated, a weird piercing sensation in my jaw persisted. Nothing about this morning was at all very pleasant, and nothing promised to be, either. I groped through my cat’s insulin injection and made my way to the dining room, which, thankfully, is out of earshot of the field where the meadowlarks are singing — but from the dining room I hear the mourning doves, which remind me of the hyena in “The Snows of Kilimanjaro.” I made some tea and cut up an orange, and my first thankful thoughts of the morning were that I could drink the tea and eat the orange.
My husband was enthused about windrows this morning, but I had no idea what windrows were, and, although I have known him for 21 years, I had no idea that he had a passion for windrows, nor imagined the pleasure he took in making windrows with his scythe. I vaguely recollected that novels featuring vignettes of English countryside tended to feature windrows, but I couldn’t put a visual on the concept. I thought they must be something like hedgerows, another nuance of Dickensian esoterica; but following the same pattern of lassitude I took with windrows, I forsook resorting to the dictionary in favor of getting on with the tediously predictable plot so that I could finish the quintessentially necessary classic and read something else.
But I wanted more than anything to be companionable, to overcome my post-migraine fog, and to learn about these windrows that so appealed to my husband’s earth-loving spirit. And in fact, windrows turn out to be quite beautiful and quite uncomplicated. They look like loaves of cut hay, piled in straight rows. And sure enough, as he was mowing the portions of our field inaccessible to the tractor with his scythe Saturday, he had made some small windrows. I forget what sort of grass they are. He thinks it would be fun to grow alfalfa in our field, and mow it into windrows, and gather up the windrows and sell little alfalfa loaves to bunny people. I love the idea of selling alfalfa windrows to bunny people. We could be bunny bale barons! Would the government pressure us to join a crop program?
Mourning doves will probably always remind me of Hemingway’s hyena. But the meadowlark’s song is lovely again; I now know what windrows are, and have even looked up hedgerows. How affirming it is to know that a hedgerow is a row of trees or bushes planted to form a hedge. As for Victorian novels, I am thoroughly enjoying Bleak House for the first time. I suppose Dickens is more a people person than a landscape artist. The plot is a tad tedious, with a generous dollop of predictability, but Dickens plants a pleasant sort of maze garden leading to the dénouement. Incredibly, the book contains not a single mention of windrows, and only one reference to hedgerows.