Sunday, October 3, 2010

You Heard it Here First

Yesterday morning in the hours before dawn there was a huge storm just off shore, between our south facing beaches and Catalina island. I know because I watched it—from up here on the mountain.

I went out to walk at 5:00a.m. with many, many things on my mind. I was carrying my headlamp, but it wasn’t on. That’s how I saw the flashes. Big flashes of light in the sky behind the cloud cover. Overhead, the night sky was clear, and I could see the stars. But over the valley lay a thick marine layer, and above it hung thick clouds.

I hurried around the loop, up to Falls road, so I could see the entire valley below and farther, out to sea. (On a clear day, one can see the entire island of Catalina from here, though it’s 100 miles away.) From a spot on the road just above my cabin, I could look out in the direction of the island, though it was too dark to see. I only had to wait a moment before the heavens over the ocean lit up as a huge lightning bolt sliced through the dark sky. To call the sight amazing might be an understatement. Once before in my life, while on vacation in Morro Bay in 1989, I witnessed a storm at sea from the window of my hotel (which was located on a bluff overlooking the ocean). I’ve never forgotten it. As I watched yesterday morning, I realized I was privy to something that most folks never see. How blessed I am….

I stood in the dark watching for a quarter of an hour or so, until I heard the baby raccoons cooing in the forest. Three days ago, they showed up without their mother. We’ve had something big in around the neighborhood in recent weeks—could be Bob Kitty all grown up, could be the lion that’s been seen by my neighbors. I don’t want to consider that Little Mama has been taken… but I did feel compelled to go home and check on the babies. By the time I got back to the cabin, they’d gone. But I stood on the front porch in the still dark morning, looking down toward the valley, seeing occasional flashes of light as the storm moved on. As I did I listened… to the sound of the waterfall up the canyon, and the stream running past below, and the owl hooting from the ridge above the campground, and a nighthawk calling from the trees overhead.

As I did I wondered if I will ever live in a place quite as wonderful as this ever again in my life.

It has been a year and a half since I blogged about putting my cabin on the market. As I write this, my real estate agent, Liz Dills, is on her way up the mountain to present an offer. It’s a good one; a really nice man has been in contact with me for months, asking questions, making plans. He will love the life here, too. As much as I have? Who’s to say?

With great sadness and some excitement for the adventures that lie ahead, I am now looking forward to becoming a flatlander again. Doing so will mean more time with my kids and grandkids, which is worth it all. It will also allow me to retire sooner than say, age 65… which will allow me, at long last, to be simply a writer. Full time. (I’ve only been working toward that goal for the past 47 years. But who’s counting?) Needless to say, though, leaving the mountain, and all the gifts it has given me, will be difficult.

So there you have it. Now that I’ve told my readers, I can tell the rest of the world.