Cambrian: Slice of Life

Holiday peace and quiet ... really!

It’s December already? Gulp! What happened to 2009? Did I misplace this year somewhere in all those moving boxes I still haven’t unpacked?

The seasonal frenzy is everywhere, all decked out in poinsettias, angels, wreaths, big red bows and little tiny sparkly lights. Traditions are lovely, but boy can they be tiring.

With one eye on the calendar count-down, we rush here and dash there, trying to get everything finished before everything finishes us. We think we’re running out of time. We wave at each other instead of indulging in a long chat. We send e-mails instead of letters. Hurry, hurry. Wrap, wrap. Work, cook, bake, clean. I’m late, I’m late …

Halt!! Time out!!

Yes, December is harried and hurried; it’s the nature of the beast. But wedged between those hectic periods, we must find time for interludes of leisure, of quiet, of being still and tranquil and serene, even.

Isn’t that why most of us moved to the North Coast?

Husband Richard and I inadvertently took the slow-down concept on a psychic test drive recently. We had survived a daylong siege of holiday-related errands that were successful, much to our astonishment, but we sure were frazzled by late afternoon when we got back home.

And, sigh, that’s when the hard part begins. Find some room for those groceries, hide these gifts (I’ll wrap them later, although I haven’t a clue when). Check voice-mail and e-mail messages, open the mail, start dinner, turn on the news. Rush, rush. Get it done. Faster.

I whirled outside toward the deck steps, heading for the downstairs studio. Then I looked up … and came to a screeching halt. Below me, about 6 feet away three deer were grazing in our emerald-green meadow.

I didn’t move.

One doe looked up and stared at me for a moment. But she didn’t tense up, and soon she calmly went back to munching her dinner.

In the distance, I could faintly hear birds chitter-chattering, waves surging toward the shore and sea lions barking at each other from their crowded, soggy post on White Rock. A fox barked, and a dog answered.

But for that moment, it was just the doe and me, peacefully coexisting under a scarlet-streaked sunset.

Maybe wildlife is more tolerant and less skittish up on Cambria’s tree-shrouded hills. I suppose that makes sense — there are more places to hide, and fewer people, cars and houses than in more densely built-out areas.

We’re on the wildlife’s turf here, and they seem to know it.

I think we’ve passed the wildlife-tolerance test. After all, each species carefully scoped us out soon after we moved in. We even had three wild turkeys peer curiously into the studio window at us. They gobbled at Husband Richard, and he gobbled back, much to their astonishment.

Perhaps the creatures have learned that the only shooting we do is with a camera, and we have no intention of harming them … or even disturbing them, if we can help it. We never crowd them, but sometimes they’ll come closer to us. If we don’t move too quickly or speak too loudly, they’ll usually continue doing what they’re doing and let us do the same.

Oh, we’re careful. We know they’re wild animals. For instance, I don’t think deer have reverse, and I do. So, if we’re face to face, I’m the one who backs up.

That night, Husband Richard and I watched the deer, the sunset, the meadow and the trees as dark closed in. We listened to the waterfall sounds of oak leaves rustling. Slowly, we relaxed and absorbed the momentary tranquility.

You can do it, too, if you try. Really you can, even during a busy holiday season.

Take a trip. No? Take a day off. Take a long lunch, or a nap, or even just take a deep breath. Now take another.

Chill out.

The chores? The holiday stuff? They can wait while we get our emotional bearings.

Mother Nature knows it’s December. We don’t need to gild her trees and meadows for the holidays. We’ll let the sun and the moon provide the sparkle.

Who knows? Maybe by Easter, I’ll be ready for December.