06 May, 2012

6 May 2012

After his raid on the jerky Muninn was banished for the rest of the day to the tunnel, Einar sneaking him occasional bits of meat and Liz not objecting in the least, grateful to the bird for having brought out a bit more life in Einar and left him rather more cheerful than she was used to seeing him of late.  With the elk quarter sliced down to the bone and the area above the stove full as it could reasonably get with drying strings of meat they decided to wait at least until the following morning to do any more slicing, turning their full attention instead to little Will, who seemed unusually wakeful after the incident with the raven, staring up in fascination at the flickering fire-shadows on the ceiling.  Einar sat down beside him on the bed.

“Looks like he’s starting to see a little further, doesn’t it?  Too bad I can’t put in a skylight above the bed here, so he can watch the spruces swaying in the wind.”

“A skylight?  Now that really would be getting fancy!  Don’t worry, soon enough the snow will be starting to go and he’ll be outside with us while we work on this or that, lying on the goat hide and staring up at the spruces from out there.  And in a few months, learning to crawl in the clearing!  That will come this summer, you know.”

Einar shook his head, knowing she was right but amazed at the thought of it, that the little creature should be destined to grow and change so fast.  Not so fast compared to a little elk or mountain goat, of course, which was on its feet the first day and tagging along behind its mother by the second, but for a little human, well, it seemed an awfully quick way to be growing up.  A bit overwhelmed at the entire thing, he returned to the subject of skylights.

“You’re right, a skylight would be getting pretty fancy for us, and not so practical either.  Thing would leak awfully bad, even if I could pull it off.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a window to let in some light, at least!”

“Wouldn’t it let in an awful lot of mosquitoes and other small creatures we might not want in here, too?”

“Not the way I plan to do it.  Got no way to make glass up here nor am I planning on a hike down into town to buy some…ha!  I can just see it, me walking into the hardware store in my fur parka and buying a couple of windows, standing there in the parking lot carefully lashing them to my pack frame before starting back up the mountain to you.  That’d be the end of things, for sure!  So I’m not gonna do that.  No glass windows for us.  But what I do intend to do is as soon as it’s a little warmer work to cut a section out of these logs on the front, not too wide because we don’t want bears and such pushing their way in, just a  long, narrow opening and then I’m gonna scrape a deer or other hide down real, real thin, tie it up in the tanning frame and scrape it until it’s no more than half its original thickness and a lot of light’s coming through, and then after it dries--not gonna tan this one, rawhide will work best--I’ll soften a bunch of bear grease and rub it in until the light really starts coming through.  Won’t exactly be able to see out it like you can glass, but you won’t believe the amount of light it’ll let into this place.  Make it a whole lot more cheerful in here.  And give me a way, by pulling it back at the bottom where it’ll be attached, to look out at the front of the cabin and the clearing, too, without having to open the door or run out through the tunnel.  Think I’ll like that nearly as well as you like having the extra light!”

“Wow, you’ve got it all thought out, haven’t you?”

“Though it may not appear so at times, I do indeed have a semi-functional brain under this thick skull of mine, which is always busy with one thing or another…”

“Oh, you know I didn’t mean it that way!  And I think the window is a great idea.  More light would be a very good thing, and it would keep us from always having to see by firelight or candlelight in there, which would be a good thing now but an especially welcome one when it gets warmer out there and we may not want to be heating the place up all the time, besides it saving on fuel.”

“Yes.  Though as you know, seldom gets that warm up here this high, even in the summer.  Not warm enough to drive us out of the place at least, even if we do have to keep a little fire going for light.  That’s why I like it!  Fella can find a way to be as cold as he likes, no matter the time of year!”

“Yes, I’m well aware of that.  You don’t seem to be liking the cold so much lately though, do you?  I mean, you’re still freezing yourself every chance you get, much to my regret, but you don’t really seem to be enjoying it…”

“That’s all a matter of definition, I guess.   And of degree.  My idea of enjoyment may not be exactly the same as yours.”

“Don’t I know it!  Or as anyone else’s that I’ve ever met, for that matter, though I’m sure they probably are out there…one or two of them.  But even considering your definition, things seem to have changed for you this winter.  I can see that even though you don’t at all go out of your way to avoid it, the cold really affects you now, where before it didn’t seem to, so much.”

Einar shrugged.  So, it was that noticeable.  Clearly, he had a lot of work to do.  “Yeah, hurts like heck lately, feels like my bones are made of ice all the time, literally turning to ice and freezing me from the inside out.  Which a lot of times I do find fairly pleasant despite it hurting, I need stuff like that, you know, but other times it’s just pretty exhausting, never getting a break from it.  Always used to be breaks, but now it’s a constant fact of life.  I’m adapting, though.  Making it through the winter, which shows that I really can do this…”

“I don’t want you to adapt, I want you to eat!  That’s the problem, as you’ve got to be aware.  Nobody, not even you, is designed to keep warm when you’ve got absolutely no insulation on your body, and don’t you be getting the idea that because you’ve made it through the winter--so far--this is a good way for you to live.  I’ll have to get out my rabbit stick if I see you starting to think that way!  Come on, let’s see if the stew is ready.  It ought to be ready by now, and I saw you testing that broth like the hungry critter I know you must be”

He grinned, joined her at the stove.  “Rabbit stick, huh?  Been a while since I’ve found myself on the wrong end of that thing.  Kinda beginning to miss it, I think.  What was I supposed to do, again?  In order to incur your wrath?

“Oh, you’re impossible!  Come and eat, or you’ll be finding out about the rabbit stick, soon enough.”

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