I will be the gladdest thing under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers and not pick one.
~Edna St. Vincent Millay, "Afternoon on a Hill"

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Drive to Volcano

Ten years ago we lived here. This is the little "mother lode" town of Volcano, Ca. We rented a house here for three years before we built the home we're in now. This is the most charming town, in the middle of nowhere, that I have ever seen. I'ts east of Sutter Creek and north of Pine Grove and anyway you get to it is winding, slow and very scenic. I was working at Pine Grove Elementary school when we lived here and I use to joke about the long commute from our house to Pine Grove. It was 6 or 7 miles and sometimes I didn't pass one car until I got to hiway 88. Quite a change from Bay Area traffic and an ugly 40 mile commute.
Yesterday we had to drive up 88 to Buckhorn and Mace Meadows so, on our way back, we decided to have lunch in Volcano. It hasn't changed much. You can still stand in the middle of the street and take pictures without worrying about getting hit by a car. Your bigger concern would be a large Buck or a Mountain Lion. It still seems that way.
It was very quiet yesterday . We had lunch at Humble Pies and , yes, they have really good pies and they are very humble about it. And ...., yes, there was a dog sleeping out on the sidewalk.

It was very hot so we ate inside. We ate and reminisced about the car shows, and crab feeds we enjoyed there, and the summer evenings when everyone would bring wine, a picnic dinner (and friends) and sit on the lawn in the amphitheater while watching a wonderful play.
Everybody knew you and Rosie( that's her bench ) ,who had lived there all her life and now lives in a nursing home, would sit on her bench and wave to everyone who went by. I mean everyone, even if she didn't know who it was.
Such good memories. Doesn't seem like 10 years. Where did all those years go? Where DID they go?
It's a charming little town that the world hasn't found ..., yet. I always thought that the old building ( see photo above) ,that looked like it had sunk into the dirt, seemed to be slowly dissappearing like many little towns in the mother lode area of the Sierra's. I sure hope Volcano stays untouched for a long time. It's like stepping back to the 1800's.
So, if you ever come up to this part of California please drive a little further and visit Volcano. You'll love it!
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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Biscuits for Brownie

"Did you miss me Brownie?"
"Yes, farmlady, but I'd like to talk about the colors of the new sleeping place."
"Why, what's the matter?"
"Well, three of us are brown and white. Bart is the only one of us that is gray and black."
"So you don't like the colors?"
"I just think you should have asked us what we thought."
"But Brownie, I was going to paint the house red and white at first and that wouldn't have matched any of you."
"That's true but those colors would not have favored just one of us. Red would have been politically correct."
"Come on , you mean that because I painted your new house gray and black that I wasn't being democratic?"
" Something like that. All Murph', Freckles and I are saying is that you were favoring Bart by using those colors."
"Good grief. I'm sorry that I have offended the three of you but I'm not repainting ."
"Hey, they all wanted me to say something and I have. This doesn't mean that I'm going to get less of that delicious grain does it?"
"No Brownie. I wouldn't do that. All of you have the right to speak out when you think there's been inequality but this is kind of picky. I have a lot of things on my plate right now and I don't need to worry about what the goats think of the colors that I painted on their new house."
"Plate? What plate? Did you come out here with a plate of food? Did I miss something? Hey guys, Farmlady had some food and she didn't give us any." Did you get anything Bart? She said she had something on her plate. I don't see a plate and I don't see any food. I'll bet she gave some to one of you when I was getting a drink of water. Who got something? Maybe it was Murphy because he thinks he's such a big celebrity. Murphy..., did Farmlady give you some extra food?Where are you, Murph'.

"I'm over here Brownie. Settle down. Farmlady has the camera and I'm giving her my sweet and wonderful goat look. You never know where these picture are going to show up. Maybe I should do a little dance for her."




"Farmlady, you are my very favorite two-legged besides the prospector. You know that don't you? You care about us and protect us
and I just want you to know that whatever you have on your plate will be fine with me because I'm not that picky. I was kind of afraid to say this to Brownie, but I really like the gray and black. It's sophisticated and classy."
"Thank you Murphy, I thought so too."
"Your welcome, Farmlady. Brownie will be all right. He just gets upset when he thinks that no one cares about him."
"I will be more careful next time. I didn't mean to upset him."
"It's ok. Do you have any crackers?"
"No, but I'll bring some with me, later, when I close you in."
"Oh, thank you. ..., and Farmlady?"
"What Murphy?"
"Bring two for Brownie."

And so the little goat house was finished except for a few things like overhangs and some gravel, in front, before winter. I checked later on that night to see if Brownie had been watching the Democratic Convention. What a commotion about equality and fairness; but then I thought to myself that some goats are right. Brownie needed to be heard. He wanted a say in how his life was affected by a decision that he had no part of.
This week I listened to all the speakers at the Democratic Convention and I will listen to all of the Republican speakers next week. I'm kind of undecided about this election, but my discussion with Brownie made me stop and think about the democratic process and how important it is that everyone votes and that I shouldn't say "I have a lot on my plate"unless I have food on it ,because some goats and people rely on others for their food and they don't use this expression as a euphmism for having too much to do.
The little goat house will stay the color it is, because it was a lot of work and I'm not changing it...., but I will take five biscuits out there tonight and two of them will be for Brownie. One for courage and one for affection (mine)...., and I'll serve them on a little plate, just for him.
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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dragonfly Wings

On my way down to my mom's I needed to stop for some coffee. As I got out of the car and shut the door I noticed something on the ground. I reached down and picked it up...., it was a dragonfly. It was dead and kind of dried out but everything was intact. The wings were not damaged at all. There in the busy parking lot I found this lovely gift, waiting for me to save it from the wind, the wheels of a car, a curious dog or a childs awkward hand. As I held it in my hand I thought I saw it move. How could that be? It was dried out and was crush in on the top between it's wings. Maybe the wind made it move, or my hand touched it's wing and turned it's body just a little. It didn't moved again and so I found a safe place for it on the back seat , bought my coffee and continued on across the Delta and into the Bay Area.
I know the road so well after all these years of driving down and back. I laughingly call it "...the horse to the barn" road. I tell everyone that if I took my hands off the wheel, the car would just continue on and arrive at it's destination because it has driven that road so many times.
I was not sure what to expect when I arrived at Mom's, but my sister had just brought Mom home and even though she was tired, she seemed to be doing very well. She has Congestive Heart Failure and Diabetes. She went to the hospital because she couldn't breath. They gave her very high doses of Lasix, a diuretic, and she came home 20 pounds thinner. The pressure on her heart and lungs was greatly reduced by this procedure so the doctor let her come home. They don't let you stay long now. If you're still breathing and you can get to the bathroom by yourself ,they discharge you. There seems to be a kind of medical conveyor belt in hospitals these days. You are in and out of there before you know anyone's name.
Sis told me that the doctors were very nice and did as much as they could to help Mom. All Mom wanted to do was go home. She's 90 yrs old and she's getting very set in her ways. She just wanted to take a nap. She was tired and very glad to be home.

Over the weekend I showed her the dragonfly I found in the parking lot. We marveled at the beauty of this creature and talked about the wings; so fragile looking and yet with the ability to fly. How each dragonfly is, first, a thing that lives in water. It is born there and that it only lives for a month or so. Only a month, not years, not decades..., but for a very short time, this lovely creature flies around and catches other insects and flies above our heads and then it's gone. Where do they go? all the thousands of small bodies...., when there are so many of them? Why does the death of one Dragonfly seem so sad? Why does sharing this lovely creature with my mother bring tears to my eyes? Is this when we hold onto each other because we know that time is short? Will the fragile wings of my mother's life travel faster than the years she has been given? Can I make the dragonfly come back to life and fly over my head?...., no. I can do nothing to stop the reality of it's death. We are all creatures with fragile wings and now, with my mother sitting beside me, I can only share this knowledge in silence.

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