Intruders

Intruders Early quiet. For some perhaps, although not the Northern Flicker with his red mustache pecking at my deck while watching the ladies, or the Red-Winged Blackbird, singing a liquid o-ka-kee, o-ka-kee, o-ka-kee, or blowing branches of the Willow Tree – nor me. Looking out my office window, across the road to the patchwork rows of vines against well-spaced pear trees, I marvel that I live in God’s Country. There are very few houses on my road; it is a road of vineyards, nurseries, and farmland. There is a newcomer this year – a home and grazing land for Icelandic Sheep. I like my new neighbors. Sometimes I walk up the road and visit them. Most likely they are huddled under a low tree in the northeast corner. We talk. Then I pick the wild daisies, sit on the old stoop of a long forgotten shed, and meditate. “All is all is all is all there is,” I mantra. When I open my eyes, I am back in Northern California, when there were only about 5 vineyards in the late 60’s – no hotels in Big Sur, Nepenthe didn’t count, long before the run down towns became home to Chateaus and BMW’s, when the Russian River was just the Russian River, when there was a war in Vietnam, the “American War” the Vietnamese call it now, when Regan closed all the Psychiatric hospitals and all the crazies were let out. I wonder if that is what is going to happen to the North Fork. Will the farmland that surrounds my house become housing developments, like the ones that took over the potato fields on the South Fork? The once small vineyards are already hosting big band weekends, food trucks, weddings and dances. Land on the next street over is up for sale, almost a dead ringer for a housing development. We are in a war in the Middle East instead of Vietnam; Nixon’s wiretaps are no different than the NSA tapping our cell phones. More crazies are on the street than ever before, forgetting to take the meds that got them out of the institutions in the first place. Women are still holding their purses tight when black men go by – just like then – President Obama said so. I don’t know. It’s 6 am and several bicyclers have already whizzed by me, loudly talking to one another. They often wake me up if I am sleeping. It is a public road. They have the right to talk. But why do they have to talk so loud, so early, as if they own the silence, the quiet. The walkers are no different, usually ladies whose pace provides me details of Jennifer’s divorce, or Will’s unhappiness with his boss, or their medications. “I’m off Lipitor now,” says one. “Sonata really helps me sleep,” says another. “Aloe really cleans you out!” I hear. They too, talk so loud. Don’t they see there is a house here, and maybe someone is sleeping, or makig love or reading or just being the quiet. Well, I am just a local, remembering a conversation I overheard in the supermarket last weekend, “Why can’t these people do their shopping on weekdays?” I suppose I am being told I am the intruder. I am intruding on the joggers, the bicyclists, the walkers, the cars going 90 miles an hour down my road, which really isn’t my road – let’s be honest here. Yet, I often have to look both ways for several minutes before I can walk across the road to get my mail from the mailbox. My neighbor complains to the town about these speeders, and for a few weeks there are several police cars strategically placed on the road, but soon they do that sexy time inverted side by side thing and drank coffee and snooze. No one has died on “the street” from fast cars, and there are so few of us living here, why is there a need to put up a speed limit sign or speed bumps? None. It’s logical. I sit still in this small space of God’s Land, boundless beauty and abundance. I can’t even say it’s the season, summer now – It’s all the time when its time to move and talk and be as many places as one can. People have paid for their vacations, second houses, and year round homes here. But I have work to do, and the silence is my muse. Can’t you whisper as you go by my house? Or perhaps not say anything? Or, drive a little slower, at least to let me get my mail and go back to work.