went to father’s the other…

by dishpantheism

went to father's the other day. passed a field of sulfur-throated forget-me-nots (cryptantha). another with thirteen grazing mule deer. a tom turkey issued from under the oaks and puffed himself up. lupines. redbud. blueblossom.

i parked at the bottom of father's hill. it was well after dark. i hoisted the sack of feed onto my shoulder and climbed. stumbled on clumps of yellow violet and claytonia and madrone roots. i stopped halfway up the hill because my body had turned to prickles. the feeling that something else was occupying the dark with me. i cocked my head to look into the huge overhanging oaks. low limbs but empty. just swags of lace lichen. perhaps there was something else that i didn't see. i listened for the cough of a mountain lion but heard none. i am very rarely afraid in the dark. i suppose i wasn't afraid then. but i did feel a sudden wariness. i immediately thought of my maternal grandmother. she used to hike several miles up the mountain to deliver groceries to her mother and father. she always had a pistol on her hip tho. i had none. she said one night as she climbed the mountain she heard the unmistakable cough and screech of a lion. she waited and went on. to drive her fright away she started singing. feasting, i am feasting, feasting with my lord…. shaking voice. the next day she found the carcass of a doe covered thinly with leaves. just there by the side of the trail. always she told that story to me with the wryest smile. wry on account of her choice of hymn of course.

father regaled me with tales of his youth. told me about the USDA experimental research center in albany that he toured as a little boy. he was trundled into various deep freeze rooms each colder than the one before it. all of the visitors were swaddled up. in the last room a man took two tomatoes and gently tapped them together. they instantly turned to red dust. my father was apparently quite impressed by that stunt. but what small boy wouldn't be? then we talked about prince rupert's drops and bologna bottles and recipes we might want to try. then it was on to books and phenology. i looked at my phone and realized it was almost midnight. when he has a mind to the man can talk your ear bloody.

had my hours cut at work. this is turning out to be a positive thing. more time for school. perhaps it will improve my humor and deportment too. fingers crossed. lately i don't know if i'm coming or going.

went for a wonderful hike with sister before school today. king's clover. goldback fern. elegant clarkia just coming in. a lone girl riding bareback came upon us.  snowberry leafing out.

seeds are sprouting. the wee meyer lemon has blossoms. the vaccinium too. tomorrow i will play in the dirt. but for now i will burrow under the duvet.