Thursday, February 23, 2017

Encounters on a Lazy Sunday Afternoon

I was in a very lethargic state of mind on Sunday, wanting to do absolutely nothing except hang out with Kota and Rosie Lee while laying horizontal on the sofa watching TMC all day, but the gentle breeze that blew through the patio doors brought enticing whiffs of sweet grass accompanied by chirruping birdsong. Beckoned by the warm rays of the sun that reached in through the windows and a blue sky heralding a perfect spring day I knew I couldn't waste the day by not getting some fresh air. So I grabbed my camera, jumped into Stuart, wound the windows down and trundled off towards country lanes.
I had decided to visit the Old Courthouse Civil War Museum in Winchester, still being drawn to Civil War history from a couple of weeks ago when I'd sought Stonewall's left arm, so I took the long way there, choosing narrow lanes and fields over a quicker, more direct route.
I passed old barns and tumbling down houses, horses peering over fences, black cattle clustered together as though having a group discussion, yet barely saw a vehicle. I saw an elderly couple walking along a road, bags in their hands and peering at the ground, until I realized later that they had been out picking up the trash along the verges. I felt guilty at not having stopped to help, and also having lost an excellent opportunity to possibly chat about 'the old days'. I made a mental note to be more aware of folks that I passed in future.
I got to the museum and after discovering that I was more than 30 minutes early I decided to pop into Alesatian Brewing just across the road. I thoroughly enjoyed their Hop Sneeze IPA and tasted their Blackness Stout while chatting to a couple who had moved to Winchester from Tennessee. They had originally come from Old Town Alexandria, VA, but preferred to now live in the slower paced Winchester. Both were very excited about the multitude of wineries and breweries that were opening up in the region, and I told them of the many beer trails they could follow as well as the new cideries and meaderies that were also picking up in popularity. I did feel a little embarrassed about my growing and extensive knowledge of the acoholic providers in the area but hey, it's a hobby, not an obsession. Isn't it?
After saying goodbye and reluctantly draining my last glass of the tasty Sneeze, I walked back across the road to the museum, and was miffed to find out that the doors were still locked. But then I leaned down to peer at some small writing underneath the 'opening hours' notice in the window, and saw 'winter hours - closed on Sundays' written on the bottom. Information that wasn't on their website or Google. I was a little annoyed but put the museum on my list of 'places to visit' and walked back towards the car. There wasn't anywhere else to visit that was new or open today in the area, and I was still feeling lazy, so I just chose a different route to drive back home.
I loved the lines on the unpaved roads and the shadows, looking more interesting in black and white than color.
I had also spotted these turkeys in the distance by the side of the barn, and they had decided to flee as they heard Stuart's engine approaching. I had to quickly aim my camera out of the passenger window to get these shots. Nice chunky turkeys in perfect health, I hope they succeed in staying out of someone's cooking pot.
I stooped briefly to capture the poor man's grass on a hill, glowing orange in the setting sun, loving the way the grass heads were illuminated and the shadows stretched down the slope beside them.
Further along, a couple of llamas were trotting in a field so I pulled over to see if they were friendly. I had great difficulty in controlling my laughter as I got out of the car and found myself face to face with this friendly chap. What an expression! He was so friendly and loved a cuddle but my giggles were knocked out of me when he snorted in my face. I had never smelled anything so bad in all my life. This guy had seriously horrific halitosis, I felt my eyelashes crinkling under the odious onslaught and my eyes watered as I backed away. But he was reaching out for more fuss so I put my arm around his neck and cuddled him with my head over his shoulder, much more enjoyable than a face to face encounter. He was an avid snuggler, so soft and cuddly, and didn't pull away, obviously used to affectionate human contact. His buddy watched us from a distance but declined my offered embrace, probably thinking this was way too much of a public display of affection. He waited patiently until our cuddle ended and then they both slowly wandered off.
I drove back towards home, passing a truck in Front Royal that sported a large decal in its rear window, a large silhouette of an AR-15 gun, and words declaring, 'If you want mine, you better bring yours.' I assumed the driver wasn't likely to be much of a hugger himself and was glad to reach my little house where two pussycats yowled their greetings and demanded that I pick them up, and I received yet more cuddles that afternoon.It had been a relaxing potter about the countryside this afternoon meeting wonderful personalities and even better that I could finish the day relaxing again, back on the sofa, stretched out, with my two roommates perched on top of me.

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