You head out of Lodi just as the sun lowers itself down the western horizon. Dazzling yellow glows against the fragile evening air. You start to climb the bridge beyond Flag City, the luxurious trek which lifts you close to the shimmering gold.
You struggle to balance a lens on the curve of the steering wheel but the river spans below you now, and you can’t take the chance. You could hurt someone if your attention wanders. So you tell yourself, Just enjoy this moment, and you ease yourself down the other side, still traveling west, towards home.
The sky has settled into crimson by the time you reach the draw bridge and slow to make the turn onto Brannan Island Road. You start into the circle. You’ve never tired of telling people whom you left behind in the Midwest that you live on the California Delta Loop. You feel that same sense of wonder as you glance across the wide expanse of Andrus Island. You marvel at the casual way that you navigate levee roads which once frightened you.
Now the mountain which keeps its constant watch sits on your left. The dying light of the setting sun caresses the river. You cannot help yourself; you pull onto private property and lean out your window. You think someone has slowed to challenge you, until you realize that the same majesty has drawn him to the curb. You turn back to the water. Your greedy eyes devour the sight of dancing light on wispy clouds.
You know you cannot truly capture this enchantment but you surrender to the mad effort. When you can no longer see well enough to focus, you start the motor and turn your car around. Like a reluctant lover leaving her beloved at the gate, you slowly continue the circuit. The last glimmer dies in the distance, as the gulls rise and the crows call and your pulse settles. By the time you descend into the driveway of the park, you’ve already started plotting your next wild dash to record the glory of the setting sun.
It’s the third day of the fifty-ninth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.