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the morning sun is shining like a red rubber ball

March 18, 2008

I pretty much accept DVHS as the limits of reasonable walking to work. I did walk to Diablo Vista a few months ago. But when someone asked me to go to Carmen Dragon, I decided to give it a try – once. So I went out there this morning and got back a couple of hours ago. It took about an hour and a half, each way; I’m guessing it’s three to four miles.

I’m TIRED.

I would have enjoyed it more if I’d left about ten minutes earlier and felt a little better. Even so, it was pretty nice. The weather is so clear and perfect right now, and the landscape—the little that is left—so fresh and spring-like. Of course it was dark, with lots of stars and planets when I left, and as I walked and walked it got lighter every few minutes, until I got to see that perfect sunrise: the giant flaming orange ball sitting right on the horizon, just for those few moments…

Antioch is so carefully placed on the cusp. When you start to go just a little bit west, especially on the right days, you immediately feel the sea. But if you go east at sunrise, you feel the Big Valley, and beyond that, in your heart at least, the whole West. Right now you can even breathe it in, the beautiful aroma of the land. You might not know what it was if you didn’t spend your childhood driving up and down the Central Valley, like I did. But underneath all the monstrous, useless, meaningless trash that’s been constructed on top of it, your lungs tell you that the land is still there… at least for now.

Before I got up and started to get dressed, I was watching a documentary on Lady Bird Johnson and her beautification project. And it made you remember a time when people, now and then, could decide to do something because it was better, not just because it was more profitable. Anyway, they showed pictures in between clips of her and others talking, of fields of Texas wildflowers: bluebonnets and Indian paintbrush and evening primrose… And she told about a time she came across a hillside covered with evening primrose, so that the moment you saw it “you could only pray or sing or shout.” And then, right that minute, there was a guy on a tractor mowing it down. Someone else told how she tried to get his attention, and he ignored her, and she finally did, and she ended up offering him $250 dollars for the “seed rights…”

I miss Lady Bird.

When I went out in the morning I stayed on the city streets, for fear of getting lost or sidetracked, because I didn’t have any time to spare. But I noticed some paths along the ways, so coming back I cut off on a bike path between Country Hills and Deer Valley. Unlike our asphalt paths around here, it was paved with concrete, and went beside a very small stream (which will probably be dry by next month). Every kind of lovely grass was growing, and yellow mustard everywhere of course, and some poppies, and finally, very few and hidden, some secret lupine. I think if it rains a little in the next couple of days, they’ll finally show themselves; the lupine seem to need a full season of rain, and wait until the very end.

There were some little ground squirrels running across the path here and there. They didn’t seem like the tree variety; they were grayer, and their tails were skinnier.

How many years has it been since I’ve seen a jack rabbit? We saw some out around Banta, awhile back, but around here, not for decades…

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