The broad sweep of a flock of migrating blackbirds rose above Jackson Slough Road as I drove to work this morning. I brought the car to a halt, contemplating leaning out of the window to take a photograph. In the end, I continued on my way. Sometimes beauty stands on its own. It needs no documentation.
Streaks of amber spanned the sky as I returned to the island. I resent my time away. I like the river, timeless and mild with its old rusty relics and the squat houseboats. I think I could live on the water. I would set a folding chair outside and commingle with the superior beings — the sea lions who stray inland, beyond the brackish water; the gulls; the trumpet swans who settle on the clumps of trees keeping to their own kind. I’d learn their languages and call to them across the evening air.
Coyotes roam our park. We don’t see them but we acknowledge their superior claim to the land. Those of us with pets keep the indoors. We didn’t lose many vegetables to critters in the Community Garden this summer. The creatures evidently don’t require our assistance to survive.
Everything thrives in Northern California, from the crows in the harbor to the mounds of hyacinth floating under the draw bridges. It’s the same on the coast. I walk along the paths of the hostel, pausing now and then to let the lizards skitter from one side to the other. They take no heed of me. I might as well be invisible. But neither do they bite me, or leave their droppings for my wayward feet. I could live there, out among the wild.
On the high ridge at the end of the road by the beach at Point Reyes, I watched a falcon circle overhead. He studied me. I felt mildly insulted that he didn’t bother to swoop down for a closer look. I resumed my journey, only slightly ashamed that I raised my walking stick skyward, as though to say, I dare you! The falcon lifted his wings and flew, out to the open sea.
It’s the twelfth day of the sixtieth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.