When one is faced with the self-imposed task of choosing the most pertinent information they’ve collected in 55 years, well, let’s just say, it’s an interesting concept to put one’s head around. Sitting up here in the Santa Cruz Mountains, away from civilization, the headspace is clear enough to begin jotting things down.
Strike that. I’ve been “jotting things down” for a few months. I’ve also got one of those tiny pocket recorders so I can say a few words of an idea, that they aren’t lost completely, forever, to the ozone as so often happens with my visions and “brain droppings” as George Carlin used to call them. For pity’s sake, I will often forget just in the 30 seconds it takes to find a pen and paper! Of course, the recorder is always in my purse — near the bottom. Sigh.
Maybe I should just duct tape it to my forehead with the microphone part facing my often gaping, hard-thinking mouth. Yes, my mouth must be doing the thinking, as it is the one visibly moving part near my brain. Kinda like a windmill, pumping up precious stuff. And my mouth is often found opening and closing with thoughts about to tumble out, only to evaporate somewhere between the frontal lobe and my two front teeth.
This is fun. I’m envisioning a how-to manual for the 21st Century, minus the digital umbilical cord most people have sprouted (although there will be references), the political mudslinging and philosophical drama as one ethical camp pits itself against another. No, this really is about stepping back in time, taking your life back into your own hands.
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There will be philosophy, my philosophy — or rather, observations, past columns from The Cambrian. Ooooo! There goes a bevy of quail down the garden path! Can you say ADD? And, down the path I go, to discover the noise in the garden, the garden in which I’m currently taking botanical notes for the book path. There I find a baby quail who somehow found her way under a wire box used to protect sprouts from — birds.
All the little bunnies who were busy ravaging the veggies scuttle off, offended I should interrupt their meal, while the mother quail nervously paces the length of the property. Lifting the edge of the cage, the chick is off in the blink of an eye. Momma calls out, that little sound like corduroy pant legs rubbing together, pauses to make sure I’m not following and off they all race into the bramble bushes.
On one level, life can be so simple, yet we perpetually complicate it emotionally and technically. On the other, if you’re a field mouse looking to nibble on a juicy squash, it can be a complicated game of life and death; do I pick the snap trap or the humane trap? Or should I just be happy with the wild berries, assuring I live to scamper another day?
Browsing through my friend’s rodent-chewed gardening book with a cup of tea, the sun setting into the coastal fog beyond these mountains, the two resident dogs finishing their dinner — how does one capture the sublime sensation of such simplicity in words?