Day Star Ride

This summer season I have seen so many birds around the house. At dawn when I sit out beside my camp fire a hummingbird positions himself as closely to the flames as possible, and watches me drink my coffee. He then darts over to the new fountain I have installed and takes a sip of water. After that I don’t see him the rest of the day, but the following morning he returns to repeat his routine. He must think the fire is a big flower, loaded with nectar, and comes back to it in hopes that it will have cooled down, so that he can poke around inside the lovely orange petals.

A flock of plump quail park themselves on the ridge of my fence and study the ground. Soon the small flock walks around through the brushy side yard, once assured that the neighbor’s cat is not present. In that same dense brush on the side yard rabbits stay secure under cover from the hawks. They have a favorite spot in which to feed, but I’m not sure what they are finding.

Goofy squirrels crawl up and down the power and phone lines that web outward from the front of my house to the main lines that follow along the country road. Yesterday I watched one crawl upside down the length of one span of cable for about a hundred feet. These little acrobats will do nearly anything for a few sunflower seeds. The real circus act around here though is a teenage boy who drives his little Japanese car about eighty miles an hour in a twenty-five mile an hour zone. We’d love to somehow catch him and lock him in a cage to prevent him from killing himself and other neighbors, but his quickness makes that tough to do.

The warmer beach weather this year entices people from other towns to come visit us. I am glad they feel comfortable coming here and being so relaxed in manners and attitudes. Few towns in our modern society accommodate those who want to strip nearly naked and lay out in public view on bright-colored towels for all the world to see. Santa Cruz has a long tradition of encouraging sun worshipers to come here and bake their skin until brown.

If the earth’s tilting axis ever becomes stuck for some reason, known or unknown, I pray that it will be stuck in July, and not January. If this season could last for even a few years without being interrupted by the more bothersome ones, I might find time to become a more even-tempered person. July here is like the giant roller coaster when it reaches its summit on the beach in Santa Cruz. Slowly it climbs from the start, up a steep hill with a long and wide view of the Monterey Bay, and seems to pause for a long spell, before plunging quickly into the first big dip of track, and then speeds madly and nearly out of control for the remaining ride.


Every time I have ridden that old wooden roller coaster I have wondered how much longer it can last. It must be a hundred years old, and yet seems frozen in time, as July should be. The slow pull upward to the summit makes my stomach and fists tighten, then I lose all sense of balance and become momentarily caught up in a sensation of fun that is mixed with fear. When July ends I know the long pull toward the sun is soon to change, making the days gradually darker during our routine ride around our old day star.

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