15 September 2009

Because it's always a barrel of laughs when the team takes a vacation.

Something about going away in the autumn is different than going away any other time. It's that light that's fading different, outlining everything golden and sharp during the cocktail hour, then dropping away over the mountain and fading much faster than it would other times. Something about it makes us seem more grown up and faded.

The way we get to the pond is like this. Gary bikes, I walk-trot. Or fartlek. Ruby walks and the other dogs run a relay between bike and me. There is swimming for the swim stick and the stick is part of the relay and the dogs aren't sure who to follow. Except Ruby. She knows how to get there. Just follow the path. The pond is always there.

We drove one day, up the other side of the valley, into the mountains that had previously just been a distant view. I picked out a road and Gary drove and we didn't know where it went. Past lots of houses where the houses were trailers and everything was made of blue tarp and and old boards and shiney, bright razor wire. We tried to walk in a forest but it didn't seem right, this time of year, to have the dogs out running loose in the woods, where people live in compounds amidst rusted up old cars, and one bright new truck sparkles in that sharp sun. The sign in the forest says, Please Don't Cut Wood or Chop Down Trees. It's nailed to a tree. We drove back down to town and stop at the berry farm for some tortillas.

It's a dark, old shack, roof covered in a black tarp. The hippies that work there move slow, and the milk is in an old icebox over in the corner by some cheese. The hippie girl behind the counter has gigantic boobs that are flapping out of her grateful dead smock and star tattoos all over her arm. She talks like a robot. Two gray people come in, old boots and faded check shirts buttoned up to the top. One is a man and one is a woman but both have old, wirey hair pulled back into soft ponytails. The man has on shorts. The don't look at us.

"You going to the fair?"

"Yep. My niece is coming in and I'll take her and I'm going to eat corndogs."



They buy some glass bottled juices and tomatoes and we leave and drive back up our dirt road.

Up on our ridge, every day is a new weather. One day it's baking like an oven, and I lay in the hammock, dogs laying underneath, and the hot breeze moves it only a little bit and I lay like that a long time. At night it rains after a thunder strike storm moves along on top of us and I wonder what happens if lightening strikes a fire on our property. Another day the first storm of the season takes it's time moving across the valley and no one else has just the whole view of it that we do, waiting for it to move south from the sea end.

There's a noise that sounds like muffled Harleys careening up from the highway below.

"Is that loud sound the wind?" I ask Gary.

He takes a minute to answer, because it had been so silent except for the tamped down roar that takes over the canyon, coming through the trees and the door blows open. I'm not sure, for a moment, if I even said that out loud.

"I guess. Maybe." He doesn't know.

Ruby's Restaurant of Dog Town.

Ruby's take out restaurant serves fish 'n' chips, corn dogs, milkshakes and grapes. Maybe tomorrow it will serve something else but for today, that's what you get. Go to the order and order from Ruby. Ruby speaks 8 languages and people from out of town aren't afraid of her.

Gustavo helps out by passing out forks. If you ask Gustavo what his job is, he says he serves love and joy to all passers by.

"So you're unemployed?" I ask.

"And I pass out forks," he answers. "I love you."

Otterpop takes out the trash and makes the change and runs the blender for the milkshakes. She doesn't sit in the takeout window, quiet smile on her muzzle like Ruby. Sometimes she mops the floor and maybe not with a smile. She growls while she mops the floor, and takes out the trash then has to run out back and scream some of the time.

That's how it goes with Team Small Dog. The last time they were here it was with Timmy, 3 months before he died. There's a book everyone who stays in the house writes something in. Usually about their dogs and wine tasting and watching the woodpeckers and the thing about the giant pigs. The last time I was here I wrote how it was his last visit and he dreams of being a dog again and feeling the wind and dreams of running. I drew a picture of him laying in his bed, although most of the time I remember him spinning in circles on the tile floor. He couldn't run last time he was here, and I wasn't sure he knew where he was.

I wasn't sure if I could ever come up to the house again after that time. But I did, and it was just different. I didn't walk the same paths as much as we did before. Mostly sat still or shuffled across the property, looking at the sky and the mountains and measuring time only by where the light hit in the valley.


Agility Foot said...

You're so talented. Your writing is so descriptive and beautiful and funny and sad. You have such a gift. Thanks for sharing.

Double S said...

Lovely, lovely, lovely.

Muttsandaklutz said...

Beautiful. Photos, writing, everything.