Every day Tim calls the Home Depot to ask if his well-drilling order has come in. He dug an exploratory hole outside the washhouse ten days ago, but he needs a sandpoint to finish it off. In the meantime, he rescues the leopard frogs that fall in the hole, carries them lovingly into the cabin and places on the sofa to warm up. I sit beside them, distracted from my typing by the slow pulsing under their skin, which speeds up as they get warm. Yesterday a large fellow sat quietly for five minutes, then recovered himself suddenly and leaped right over my keyboard, over the arm of the couch, and down onto the floor with a splat. I chased him ineptly across the cabin, terrified he would leap onto the woodstove.
“What do they think about?” I ask Tim, “Do you think they say, ‘What’s going on? This is really fucked-up grass’?”
“I think it’s more a stimulus-response thing,” he says, “It’s warm. Bask. It’s moving. Chase and eat.” Tim is disappointingly immune to Disneyfication.
The well has not progressed, and the water supply is still a pump sucking water from the river through a length of black pipe. Or was, I should say. It dropped to minus ten celsius last night. Tim put a heater in the wash house and let the taps run, but all was solid as a popsicle this morning. Just this morning I’d been writing about a shambolic hike I did in Laos exactly this time last year. I remember noting the picturesque poverty as they taught me to wash myself and my clothes in the mighty Mekong. Now I think, lucky buggers didn’t have to do it in _Canada in November_.
But it’s no great tragedy. We “borrow” drinking water from an outdoor tap at the Fitzroy Harbour school anyway. We’ll bring up buckets to heat on the stove for dishes. As for personal dirt, it’ll freeze on my skin and chip off nicely. I only have to manage until Tuesday, when I hop the Greyhound to New York and temporarily resume my glamourpuss life, complete with glamorous indoor plumbing.
Note to self: no snogging lampposts.