04 February 2015

Standing still, quietly, and being exactly the same.

We are up here on the mountain top, where the wind sounds different. It's loud when it catches on the oaks. We can sit here and wait for the weather to come in. It's not a bad way to pass the time.

The oaks have been here longer than anyone. I'm not sure how you guess their age. They cling to these hills, holding on tight because it's all they know. Holding on tight even when part of them comes crashing down to slowly rot on the hillside. It happens. The wind gets big enough one night, the drought made it sick, the rain got too wet. But mostly they hang on.

Gustavo's the only dog that chases deer now, and he comes back pretty quick. The deer out here look different, and they travel in singles. Ruby is a miracle, walking along with us every time. A long time ago in these hills, she got kicked by a deer, flung up onto the side of the hill after a small dog ambush on a trio of deer, and her ribs hurt for weeks. This time, Gustavo's come up limping, after he ran all the way down to the creek. The deer, long gone. From high up on the hill, we could see her jump down the cliff and across the creek and up the other side of the mountain. Gustavo came back in, holding up his sore foot.

Banksy does't much care about deer. Because there are birds. She'll chase a buzzard for miles, tracking it in the air. We can see her off in the distance, and then she comes back in if we whistle loud enough. We let her do it. Not always a chance for her to let her hair out and run like she was born to.

She was born to run these hills. Although most of the time she does it with a ball in her mouth, carried gently and everywhere like her baby. Only abandoned when the flock of vultures heads back in and flies low for a minute. Ball baby is dropped like a sick potato and she's off across the terrain. It's something to watch her run. How she finds the ball again is just plain weird.

And how she never tires, even weirder. Border collies are freaks of nature.

Some of us can barely make it to the creek. But I do, and I've tied Otterpop on to me so I have company. My bones are as old as an oak, I guess and both my legs are not wanting to make it to their next birthday. This throws a wrinkle in a lot of plans. Shit happens. But one foot in front of the other, I can still make it a few miles. It just takes a long really time. An ice age to walk to the pond. A global warming event. But I can do it. The knee gets operated on in a few weeks. Maybe they make it good as new. The other leg has it's new bionic attachment. For now I take shuffly little steps and the dogs humor me and stick pretty close.

Banksy doesn't mind. For every mile I walk, she runs maybe 12. If we could stay up here in the hills all the time, she wouldn't care how slow I moved.

She also has Gary. Boy, does Banksy love Gary. She doesn't listen to him, and she knows exactly how to get him to throw the ball. It's my chair she picks to sleep under, and it's my whistle she comes in to. But wow, does she love Gary.

I'm not sure why we don't live here all the time. Oh yeah, actually I do. There's no jobs and the land here isn't cheap, there are grapes just up the valley. Costs loads to bring up the electric and do the grading and money, it don't grow on trees. Only grape vines. You can't pick up and build a teensy cabin with giant windows on a mountain top just because that's what you want. You can't always get what you want, you know? Things, they change so slow up here, up here on the mountain. Down in the tiny, little town. Maybe that's the thing we want, just as much as the big windows and big spaces and the mist blowing up the valley. Nothing to be different, every tree in it's place. Every single leaf that blows off, a new one grows exactly where the wind ripped off the one before it. Nothing to say goodbye to up here, so far. Nothing, and everything. Couldn't this be the one place where that's stuck, year after year? That's a real thing, right? Standing still, quietly, and being exactly the same.


Tammy Moody said...

Rosie made me listen to a new modest mouse song today, and it took me back to old Portland, where the trees were still being sawed down by loggers. We don't have loggers anymore and I miss them. But this is about you, and your knee, and your ankle, and your vacation on the mountain with Gary and the dogs who love him, and about the life you are vacationing from. Mostly though probably about oak trees and low flying vultures and moving slowly. Lovely lovely photos and post, even if it makes me melancholy.

Anonymous said...

there's no such thing as being exactly the same.... if you are pollyanna, you can believe that all change is for the best. if you're not pollyannaish, you still put one foot in front of the other and see where they take you. pollyanna kinda gags me with a spoon.

Agility Foot said...

Lovely post,Laura. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Laura, I love your old bones and your hills with the oak trees clinging to them.