My brother and sister-in-law live on sixteen acres in gorgeous Northern California. The closest town has a population of less than five thousand. After once through town with its “hemp store”, I now take the scenic highway west — two very narrow lanes of windy, hilly, tree-lined road. As if ten miles weren’t far enough from civilization, my brother and SIL chose a place a mile off the road – across a narrow metal bridge with no side railing suspended over a twenty foot ravine with rocky creek bed below. The bridge is just wide enough to accommodate a pick-up truck. UPS drivers refuse to make deliveries and leave their parcels with neighbors.
We don’t get to visit often, but we email frequently. I keep telling him he should write a column for one of the big city newspapers about the life of an urbanite transplanted in rural America. He writes of “long-eared rats”(deer) invading his garden, shoot outs on main street between rival pot growers, a bear that claims rights to their apple tree, organizing and running a farmers’ market, people that carry chainsaws in their trucks to clear fallen trees, the locust-like invasion of river jazz attendees.
His observations make me laugh. “Summer weather has been cool at night, warm to hot in the daytime; nice for river swimming, wading or lounging under the shade of the redwoods. Mosquitoes have been rather thick this year. Last week a tourist was attacked by three at once. They managed to carry the man off. His body, desiccated to the dryness of an Egyptian mummy was found the next day hanging from a high limb of a redwood tree. Insect repellent is highly recommended. Bee suits and shotguns would be even more helpful.”