By Mandi Donohue

I love my days off. I get to wake up covered in sunlight pouring through the windows, the shadow and light resting on the trees, piercing blue skies above them. It is so quiet in Lost River that we woke to the sounds of a squirrel, high up in a fir tree, dropping nuts to the ground.

Earlier in the week, Lliam, The Small Dog and I hiked up Spokane Gulch and it was a bit of the same: quiet, deep greens and blues, the sunlight and clouds quilting the valley in various shadow. It’s the sound of a light breeze or the crunch of gravel beneath your feet, the cool crisp air or even the sound of your neighbor playing the harp, that are moments we cloak ourselves in gratitude.

I guess the days that we do not have off are gifts in themselves as they give us reason to appreciate our time off so much. I do my best to remember that, anyway. Ha!

We also woke to the sounds of two playful kitties. Thomas and Sophelia The Great have been wonderful additions to our family thanks to Corrina and Maria Johnson. Last year, Maria took in a cat that she didn’t know was pregnant and before long, all of Lost River was searching their property for covert stray kittens. We took two.

These spastic and silly kitties, full of feistiness and pathetic bravado, have helped lessen the sting of losing two hens this week. We think it’s either an owl or a neighbor’s dog getting into their free-range area, as the remains were minimal but the fence is now sagging. I know that’s the circle of life and we give them the best lives we can but it doesn’t make it any less sad. For the record, I would be a terrible farmer!

As I was driving home from work this week, I was stopped by Kevin Petty. He was diverting traffic as, to my right, lay a cyclist covered in blood. The cyclist, making his way up Lost River Road, had been hit by a speeding truck. Thankfully, when I saw Kevin later that night, he mentioned that he thought the cyclist would be OK, albeit a little worse for wear in the morning.

With newly paved roads in Mazama, which make all of us want to put on our 1980s shades and drive fast, I implore you to be careful while driving. Whether it’s mindless deer, unknowing cyclists, unsupervised children or directionless dogs, there are just too many souls with adjectives on our winding roads to be going that fast. A person or critter’s life is just not worth that extra 5-20 miles per hour. Please. However, a purring kitten resting tightly against your neck with another sleeping on your legs while you type your column? Now, that is worth its weight in gold.