Today's flight with the tiny but mighty super pup Agadez was a smashing success. He was granted carte blanche access, enormous hospitality, and even left a few souvenirs in the terminal as a tribute of thanks when the urge to not release was too much to bear.
So I am here safe and sound, its 2111 and I am bushed.
Last night I got 1-1/2 hours of sleep and then only a few cat naps during my flight.
Factors impeding my quest for a few quick zzz's on the flight were:
1st A super chatty stewardess who ran me through the escapades of every dog she has had. Grr!
2nd, Well who the heck can really sleep back with in masses in coach.
O'how I long for the days of traveling internationally 1st class on Air France!
Thank you peace corps!
Once you taste the good life certainly there is no joy left in coach.
Well not really, people are always much nicer in the back.
In fact a guy sitting next to me bought me a beer and I received some great advice from an interior decorator as to which color to paint the barn here in Minnesota.
I would have went with the traditional barn red, but perhaps a rich hue of royal blue accentuated with a creamy white along the borders could really be very stunning. Who knows?
Arriving in perfect timing, Jimmie our project director made a haul from Wisconsin and picked me up at the airport. Then two hours later I safely arrive to this stunning campus currently blanketed with about a foot or more of snow.
What a contrasting vision compared to the lush greenery of my earlier voyage here in May. The current temperature is soaring at -4F, and I must say with the right layers it didn't feel to awful bad.
My present hypothesis is that once the mercury dips to say below 10, it doesn't matter how cold it is. Its just cold. Apparently the natives mentioned it felt much better due to the lack of wind, which is not always the case.
Wind? Ah man, its usually windy here in the winter?…..grr!
That changes the game.
My first day and the security blanket of my thoughts to be able to withstand the cold has been already yanked from beneath me.
Worry not, I have not lost the faith.
Like Niger and everywhere else, you adapt.
A beneficial by product of my wayfaring ways and not living in regulated environments for extended times like cars, offices, and houses certainly has a pay off, that being my body acclimates rather well.
Relishing in the opportunity to take a walk and bask in the glory of this glorious place Agadez and I went on a night tour of the farm. We walked in knee high snow, followed squirrel and raccoon tracks leading from trees to hideouts, and from there to brush lines then fence rows, and looping back to the trees.
It made me appreciate the tactics, nature, and cycle of life in the north. As I observed the underground lairs of these scavenging species I received a darn good edu'ma' kation too; which can be best summed up as protect your nuts and dig in.
Taking the signs of the lesson to heart I know my charge to feed so many during these wintry months will be a considerable challenge. Similar to the squirrels experience, if harvests are successful then after the difficult winter months the pay off is emerging into the magnificence of another spring and living for another renewal of seasons.
Without the cold, one could never truly appreciate the opportunity to once again be embraced by warmth and another chance to procure adequate bounty in anticipation of the next winter. Its nature!
Despite the many challenges laying in wait, I'm feeling very eager to attempt the task at hand.
To teach others and provide sustenance is a duty, the ability to do so annually is learning and embracing natures truest art form; survival, above all others, this is my favorite form. Unfortunately not too many or enough in contemporary times are learning to wield the brush and peacefully create a masterpiece for themselves while striving to paint a portrait for sustainability.
Currently I'm looking out a window on a whole campus that resembles a blank canvas in my minds eye. Within my mind I envision an obtainable portrait, and if we work hard, plan precisely, and execute brilliantly then this place has the potential to be a true masterpiece.
Well its time to shut it all down, cuddle into my sleep sack and doze off to the delightful sounds of Agadez chasing the farm squirrels in his dreams.
Today was a day, tomorrow is another day.
They all add up to create a life.
Be well, and yes the view from my window and the hard comfort from my pallet on the floor here sure beats your fancy pants beds and the cubicles many of you are reading this from.
In the words of my father, Keep your powder dry!