Darkness lingers in the valley,at sea level, with the mist of a Delta morning trailing through the trees. Long before my alarm sounds, I have activated the burner under yesterday’s carafe of coffee and stumbled around the narrow confines of my tiny house. My eyes scrunch beneath heavy bangs and behind the blur of inadequate lenses.
In a little while, my camera and I will go in search of whatever the river wants to show us. Fortified by another mug of java from the local restaurant, I’ll find the bend in the road by which a fisherman with a line cast in the San Joaquin. Tall masts will pose for my amateur’s fingers. The rusted bellies of relics will puff when I turn the Canon’s eye in their direction.
I don’t know much about life. All of the knowledge that I thought I had garnered falls away like rotting scales. I’m left with the basic, immutable precepts of childhood. Put your best foot forward, my Nana told me. Keep walking, urged my mother. But these too: Always play the house odds, said my Dad, along with, Never draw to an inside straight. I’m thinking of letting these four rules guide the last third of my life.
But just now, I’ll throw on some leggings and an over-sized shirt, and go out into the park to see what the day holds. Later, there will be a Halloween gathering, and more pictures to take. By and by, I’ll find my way back to the 200 square feet in which I now live and breathe. There will be rest, at the end of these proceedings. Whatever life provides today, I am ready.
It’s the twenty-seventh day of the fifty-eighth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.