Thursday, June 21, 2007

Mountain Lions, Anacondas and Cupcakes (Part 1)

It's almost 1 a.m. on the longest day of the year. I should definitely be asleep by now, but the sudden realization that Keri and I could have died, or at the very least been made horribly unattractive yesterday, is keeping me awake. It could also be the amazing orgasm I just enjoyed or the late-in-the-day caffeine fix.

After spending most of yesterday drinking homemade limoncello while making Brady Bunch tiki talismans out of clothespins, Keri and I needed a break. I hadn't shown her much of the valley yet, so we set out on a little late afternoon drive. First we headed to the toilet graveyard that sits about a quarter-mile away from my house. I have no idea what past lives these toilets have led, but every time I go by, the rancher who owns the property seems to have added more, and I am usually compelled to leave flowers.

Suitably impressed with the graveyard, Keri wanted to see more of this great land, so we headed up the mountain toward Southmayd Ranch. It's an eerie drive - dark, wooded, steep - there is a patch of trees that seems to have been afflicted with a disease at one point as they appear black, dead and decidedly ominous. Once you reach the top of the mountain, the sky opens up, and there is an absolutely gasp-inducing view of the valley below. A small house sits at the top of this road with a deck that juts out over the side of the mountain. The house is very rustic - faded wood siding and a variety of different-sized windows. It looks like it was pieced together from parts of other houses abandoned long ago. There used to be a young couple that lived there, but on this day, there was no sign of life at all. The yard was overgrown, and from the little bit that we could see through the dusty windows, the place looked empty. We stopped the car, and Keri said to me with the persuasiveness of one skilled at peer pressure, "You know you want to break in and look inside."

We opened the gate at the top of the driveway and began walking toward the house. As we got close, I stood on my tiptoes trying to get a look at the inside. Not being able to see much, I continued walking past the house to try to get a look in the side windows. Keri, on the other hand, opened the front gate and began heading down the hill toward the deck. She had decided that the best way to see the house would be to scale the deck and get in through the screen door.

I stood watching her, admiring the fact that her six-foot willowy legs could easily climb the wooden posts while my short and stout ones are chronically planted to the earth. She had just about reached the deck when suddenly a noise came bellowing from the shadows underneath. It sounded like the whoosh of a gas heater being turned on followed by the deepest, most resonant growl I have ever heard, and I got the distinct impression that it was a territorial warning. We both froze in place. My eyes darted around wildly looking for large rocks, sticks, super hero powers or a strapping ranch hand with a big gun, but there was no such luck. Keri turned to me and said with extreme calm, "Did you hear that?" And suddenly we both realized we were definitely in the wrong place at the wrong time. She turned and got out of the yard as quickly as she could, and we both walked back to the car swinging our arms above our heads and talking very loudly, which is what I've always been told to do when accidentally crossing the path of a mountain lion. Of course, we're not sure that it WAS a mountain lion......


Keri said...

Who knew you could write so well AND be incredibly gorgeous at the same time? You definatly got the better half of the gene pool! I miss you too, xoxoxoxoK

Anonymous said...

Was it the ghost of Zipporah Russ?