I wish that I could paint.
If so, I’d do a gentle watercolor of this creek rushing through the canyon on the edge of the national forest. Almost overnight, L.A. has turned from Irish green to French-fry brown. But not deep in this clammy gorge, where the wild things grow amid the skittering grouse.
At least I think they’re grouse. Could actually be a partridge quivering through the creek bed, noshing on seeds and pebbles (same diet as my daughters).
I wish I were a poet.
If so, I’d pen a poem that would make readers pause and reflect. As things stand now, my words just make people guzzle another Scotch.
“You write like buckshot,” a reader noted the other day — fast and furious, and all over the place.
I’ll admit that there’s a madness to it that may reflect modern life, middle age and the melancholy of fading youth.
So be it.
Here’s the good news: The local creeks are still chattering with snowmelt, and the bushes are plump and pregnant as sheep. I’m hiking with the wolf on a wonderfully damp morning, and I decide that the ideal day starts gloomy like this, then turns sunny in the afternoon — the big reveal.
Till then, it is indeed a murky morning. The wolf lurches for a grouse/partridge. I lurch for the wolf. It’s a chain reaction of lurching and skidding and cursing on the rocky trail on the edge of nowhere.
I am at that age, to borrow from Pablo Neruda, where poetry comes in search of me.
“Hey poetry, I’m over here … the guy taking a swan dive into the rocks!”
I wish I were a pastor.
We lasted 10 minutes before they threw us out of the sunrise service overlooking the arroyo. It happened suddenly, during the second Easter hymn, when White Fang started barking at angels, or whatever it was she spotted.
White Fang saw the other dogs, then she saw the table of free donuts, then the angels. The excitement was too much, and just as the congregation launched into song, so did she — a throaty yodel, a wretched wail.
“Hey, did you see those angels?” she sang. “Anyone?”
“Probably a partridge,” I assured her.
To be fair, nobody at the outdoor service asked us to leave. But you could read it in their soft and understanding eyes: Enough already. It’s Easter. We have serious business here.
A day earlier, I let White Fang off the leash and she took off for the neighbor’s house, where she burst through their half-open front door.
Two young visitors, having been raised on tales of devious wolves, immediately assumed that’s what she was, rather than the total cupcake (and accomplished songstress) that she actually is.
Easy mistake. Tears. Mayhem. Apologies.
There is always something a little amiss at our house. The dishwasher is done and nobody steps up to empty it. The wood floor in front of the fridge is curling a little, which may indicate some sort of leak. The floors, in general, look like those of a beer hall.
Seriously, does every family go through this? I think so. Just not to this magnitude.
To keep from drowning in dog fur, we purchased a new high-powered vacuum that nearly devoured our wonderful and devoted housekeeper.
And the latest X-rays show that I still have a yellow Peep wedged in my colon, circa 1987. At this point, doctors say to just leave it.
More good news:
“Dad, I think I lost my baseball glove … could be in the equipment shed,” which is something I’ve heard a thousand times.
Mind you, the lost glove is never in the equipment shed. All you ever get is spilled field chalk that nobody cares to clean up.
I’m sure my son will be OK without his glove. Obviously, you don’t see many barehanded right-fielders. If you show up at the field on Tuesday, you can see him try to catch a screaming high fly with just his bare fingers. Fun!
As noted, ours is a goofy life, in need of occasional moments of grace.
To that end, the dads cooked Easter dinner, a monumental test of faith and forgiveness. There were several families and plenty of wisecracks, as you would hope when marking a major religious holiday. My niece joined us, the one from Chicago, who gave up condiments for Lent: ketchup, mayo, mustard.
Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t imagine going 46 days without mayo.
For dinner, I made Brussels sprouts that tasted just like tiny tennis balls. My buddy Pete smoked baby-back ribs that tasted like everything you love about classic western movies.
As hoped, the gloomy day finally gave way to clear skies — to sun, to ribs and to resurrection.
A big reveal indeed.