We wake up baffled about the time. As usual, the three of us are a tangle of limbs, warm skin against skin. Bean has taken to nuzzling into the nook between my chin and shoulder when he wakes up, and today he snuggles in and starts humming a little ditty that is tuneless and dreamy. Unlike us, heâ€™s ready to start the day when the first sun rays poke through the shades. He scoots off the bed before we can catch him and runs to greet our houseguest.
We head to Starbucks for coffee this morning with our guest, and then to the little bakery kiosk for warm croissants with ham and swiss cheese. We take the paper sacks to of goodies to the park, where Bean runs after pigeons and tries to climb everything in sight. We take turns eating mouthfuls of flakey pastry and running after him as he goes after his fancy: up the courthouse stairs, after the dog he sees at the other side of the park, or towards the gulls that have gathered for handouts. â€œBuh, buh, buhâ€ he says pointing at the birds.
After our friend leaves in a flurry of waved goodbyes (waving being Beanâ€™s newest fascination), DH and I slip away to a sugar on snow party at our neighborâ€™s house while Bean and the babysitter head to the park. At our house we walk hand in hand down through the field with the gnarled apple trees and stalky grasses to the neighborâ€™s drive. Their dog lopes down to greet us, her ears as soft as rabbitâ€™s fur.
We meet other neighbors over bowls of snow (saved in a cooler from the last snowfall a few weeks ago) with hot syrup poured on top. The syrup turns to taffy and is sticky sweet. Everyone we meet is kind, down-to-earth and genuine: the doctor who keeps sheep, the family down the road with teenage girls dying for baby sitting jobs, the stone mason, the carpenter who also is an avid cyclist. This is what home is like.
After hours of banter we make our way back up the hill, finding time to kiss in the sunny, sawdust filled dining room before embarking on the task of framing yet another wall. Itâ€™s hours of measuring, cutting, re-cutting, laughing, kissing, hammering two-by-fours into place, with a stop for Italian sodas and a trip to the general store. Like out of an old movie, it sells everything: ice cream, panty hose, hunting rifles, sandpaper, milk, wine, fishing lures, twinkies, steaks. A good place to know about when the roads are bad.
By six itâ€™s still light out and I pull into the driveway to find Bean digging in the dirt in the front yard. He is so absorbed in his project I barely get a hello. For dinner we share a bowl of chicken soup, Bean using his very own spoon, and somehow the stars are already out.