If this is early morning by the bay, then let time stand still.
Sitting on a stump with my faithful compadre, Diego, the best trailer park feline this side of Tampa. This place is legit. It’s something equivalent to a symphony; a piece of music, a lush landscape being sung for a captive audience of two; pure “ear candy” belted out by a varied and diverse choral group consisting of crows, pigeons, woodpeckers, mockingbirds, ducks and heron and their sounds fill the air.
A red-tailed hawk circles above us.
Diego is a scaredy cat and this is understandable as the park is all he’s known and nature, well this distinct and unique type of nature, is brand spanking new to the guy. Grown accustomed to wall-to-wall prefabs and asphalt trails, it will take time for him to adjust to a deer staring him down through the wild blackberry bushes and seemingly saying,
“You’re on our turf now, buddy, so start getting used to it.”
There are supposedly 4 herons that have their nests, balanced in sublime precision, up in a tall and mighty pine here in my own private paradise, and though I’ve spotted only two, the legend has it four do reside here. On weekends, walkers from the neighborhood, equipped with binoculars, stop across the street and stare up into the trees hoping to catch a glimpse. No more gardening without a shirt on Saturdays. Damn.
I had never seen a heron in flight but two nights ago I witnessed my first sighting and their expansive wingspan caused my heart to skip a beat. I feel like an alien crawling out from beneath some rock where I have lived for the past 6 years. The colors are blinding, the sounds deafening,
In speaking with one of my dearest paisanas, we had both concurred that heron, except for the recognizable and distinct flapping of their enormous wings, don’t utter a sound. Not true, especially if you’re a dysfunctional family of heron who cannot resolve a morning disagreement by using calm words with one another.
For on this daybreak, they’re having one helluva argument. I was inside the casa when I heard them bickering at one another about god only knows what and I ran out expecting to see a herd of wild geese in a boxing ring, but there they were squawking and yakking at each other as if the adolescent of the flock had stayed out too late the night before. The parentals were laying down the law with a noisy lecture that could be heard up the canyon and clear to Big Sur.
So right now a trio of brown squirrels are playing “Ring Around the Tree Trunk” and Diego is slightly amused. Me too. I know one thing for sure…
One shouldn’t venture out to this stump empty-handed; essentials include a camera, a notepad with pen and a receiving heart.
Diego and I have a duel-purpose for this morning:
the first placidity, the second grief.
We found his faithful gypsy companion, Gray Boy, lying dead on the studio floor where I had kept him to adjust to the move…
Gray had only known the park. He had an appetite for the trailer life, treats of turkey and the tattered Mexican blanket we left out for him. He feared streetlights, cars and humans. He was just coming around, after two years, to letting me to touch his head, palm up, but only one touch. He loved Diego.
So this morning, we release the spirit of Gray Boy to this beautiful surrounding.
We honor the wildness of his spirit.
I think I’ll rest here for awhile, amidst the tranquility of Tortilla Flat.
Lay me down; render me in the arms of the deer and pine, if only for a short time…