Once again I find myself at sixes-and-sevens, nothing to do and no one with whom to do it. I drive into Isleton, check my postal box, and order a kombucha at Mei Wah’s Beer Room. I sit in the beer garden casually eavesdropping on the couple at the table behind me. The owner briefly emerges and checks my status with the universal signal, two thumbs held high, and then saunters back into the building to pour more beer. People wander outside and chatter rises.
I go across the street and timidly enter a little store where my friends used to have a tattoo and art shop. I browse the oddments and marvel at the fifty-year old shoes. I skirt around a knot of women debating whether to buy huckleberry syrup, made in Montana but with the store’s label prominently displayed. I make a small purchase and retreat, down the street to my car and then along the river road back to the lush green park in which I live.
Along the way, I see a flock of mergansers, three red-tail hawks, a distant field of snow geese, and a lone egret stepping with precision through a flooded field of reeds. I speak to no one other than the barkeep. I raise my camera several times, enough to remind myself that I live in a beautiful place and the weather rolls fine and easy on my shoulders ten months of the year. The other two months provide critical rain for the grapes and the willows and the migrating birds which grub in the soggy earth for their nourishment.
At home I stop as I drive through the kiosk and speak to several of my neighbors, exchanging light, airy platitudes that leave everyone smiling. Kind and clever, that’s us, and the world shifts, and the sun sets, and the night begins to gather. In my tiny house, in this infinitesimally minute plot of the wide wide world, I listen to the crickets in my head and wonder about tomorrow.
It’s evening, on the sixteenth day, of the eighty-fifth month, of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.