Dusk fell as I journeyed home from work on Friday. A chill invaded my car. I turned the heat to a higher setting then pulled into a gravel drive to watch the sun paint its wild colors in the Delta sky.
Hawks cut through the clouds. A gentle wind flicked the leaves on the tree above me. I listened to the call of evening birds and the periodic rustle of small creatures scurrying to safety. My head fell against the steering wheel for just a moment. I might have slept. The rush of a passing truck on the gravel startled me; I fired the engine and swung wide, down the driveway and onto the levee road.
The sun continued its decline in the rearview mirror as I made the circle around the levee. Beside me, gulls swooped through the grey sky and settled on the little island between the slough and the San Joaquin. Out on the river, a boat struggled to make the marina before dark. I turned into the park as the gloom settled, past the kiosk with its festive autumn decorations, the American flags waving from fifth wheelers, and the hardy mums raising their petals to the evening air.
In the flat space in front of my house, I sat in the stillness, phone in one hand, keys in the other. My own flag, my ode to #Coexistence, gently rippled overhead. A friend recently chided me for eschewing bigotry while raising my banner to harmony. I disagreed with him but let his opinion stand. Hate has no home in my heart, including the hatred of others. But my logic does not resonate with everyone.
As I tarried in my car, I studied the 8 x 24 dwelling into which I moved my life three years ago this month. I look back across those years from the wrong end of a telescope, too close. Seen from a distance, they hardly make sense but here I am. Once a reporter asked me what I least liked about living tiny. I did not hesitate: You have nowhere to go to escape your self, I answered. Nowhere but your car, and the levee road, and the long expanse of river on which you can drive until the ghosts which haunt you recede into the depths from which they crawled, and your soul at last embraces some semblance of peace.
It’s the fourteenth day of the eighty-third month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.