I rose on this cloudy morning and met my friend, Robert, in a nearly imperceptible drizzle at the Oso Trail head. There were no other cars in the lot. The river bottom was alive with its smells; the usual dust of the trail, a soft red; the tracks of animals strikingly more distinct: deer, raccoon, dog…no fresh hoof prints, but plenty of turds. Wells Canyon seemed to have come alive over night. All of the various sages were giving off their scent. The buckwheat was almost bright red. What was pale yesterday was today showing its color.
Though it was damp and a bit crisp, I was wearing shorts below and flannel and fleece above…what Meredy just this morning referred to as “mullet-wear”. Doc was beyond delighted with the change in weather, racing off one direction and the next, covering 25 yards of each of the four trail directions before settling on the one I was walking. By the time we crossed the still-dry river, Robert and I were lost in conversation and Doc was disappearing in one direction and then the other, for if I was experiencing an explosion of new smells, Doc must have been on overwhelm mode. It was all there for the sniffing.
And so the morning went, walking through the perfume of wet chaparral, two friends continuing a 20 year conversation on the verities or vagaries of life, a dog as pleased as dog can be, rising on paths until we were looking down and across our long-familiar valley. How nice it is to feel even this modest moisture in the face of drought. What a rare pleasure it is to know a place so long, a friend so long.
On my desk is a sign: “All the mornings of the world leave without returning.” But some linger a bit, inviting you to walk in their light rain, inviting wonder and some sense of the state of grace, inviting gratitude in all of its forms.
(RIP Robert Auric)