When I turn off the highway onto my new(ish) Ridge, I feel like I have successfully left the world behind me and escaped it yet again. Going home, I drive uphill, passing an old inn which stands empty as far as I know, though sometimes there are random lights on in random parts of the building at random times of day. The inn used to be a stage coach stop in the pioneer days, and there are still bullet holes in the ceiling of the parlor. There must be a novel or at least a short story there.
Beyond the inn, there are fields of cows and horses. I’m sorry to report that as we approach the middle of January (and the middle of winter), that the meadows are still wearing some summer gold instead of winter green. We’ve only had about 14 inches of rain, and I am already worried about fire season and drought. But the cows and horses don’t seem to be worried.
As I continue down the road, I pass under bowers of trees:
This ridge seems higher than the old one, and it’s dramatic to see all the hills and redwoods. I have not been able to find a good vantage point to take a picture of this. But I do have visual proof that this is God’s country:
And a bench that agrees with this theory:
After the sign and the bench, I cross a narrow redwood bridge, shaded by tall redwoods. At this point, the road stops pretending that it’s two lanes and becomes one. If I meet a neighbor, one of us pulls over so the other can pass. There are fewer cars on this ridge, and we almost always wave at each other when we pass, even when we don’t know each other. It’s a neighborly place.
I recently learned that the place I think of as the Waltons’, since the house reminds me of the one on the long ago TV show, is actually a pineapple-guava ranch:
I had also never heard of, let alone tasted, a pineapple-guava, though I did wonder what all those trees were. Apparently the ranch belongs to a successful author of tween novels like Sweet Valley High, but not actually Sweet Valley High.
It’s not far to my house after that, the road wending its way up and around through the tall, ancient redwoods, with lush ferns and rhododendrons underneath. There is a lot more wildlife here: wild turkeys, foxes, possums, skunks, deer. Sometimes it feels like a magical kingdom. I hope I will be driving down this road for many years to come, arriving at this gate:
to find my kitties looking for me through the glass front door.
A YEAR AGO: The kitties were being naughty. Some things never change!
FIVE YEARS AGO: The horrors of health insurance.
TEN YEARS AGO: A little earthquake. Just a reminder that the big one is coming one day.
FIFTEEN YEARS AGO: The horrors of flying. I can’t say I miss flying.