Here’s To You

Sunset on the MountainI turned into the driveway. A red and white car, early ’80s vintage, blocked the one lane dirt road that runs about an eighth of a mile from the road to the house. Finally the car’s four young occupants saw me. I backed out so they could clear the drive, and i waved as they passed, asking through our open car windows if everything was alright. They looked sheepish and one of them grinned and said, “Yah”.

There are occasional visitors on the long winding drive. The house, nothing grand, cannot be seen from the road, and the drive looks temptingly like a dirt road to nowhere. But I yond, a scene that remains much as it has been for hundreds of know where it goes. It leads to views of mountains and valleys and an ocean beyond, a scene  that remains much as it has been for hundreds of years. The view never fails to intoxicate me.

I rounded the bend in the drive. What was that I saw on the post? It was red. A plastic cup. And there on the ground the unmistakable reflection of sun on aluminum caught my eye. I parked my car and walked down the drive to the edge of a slope that runs almost straight down more that a thousand feet to the San Andreas Fault.

There was another can tossed on the side of the drive, another in a bush, two or three down the slope and another in the lower limb of a tree. Bud Lite. Looked like the quartet in the drive had demolished a twelve pack. And it became clear I had come across them at the moment they were relieving themselves on their way out of the drive.

Across the valley the pines cascaded down the opposite ridge interrupted by occasional steep meadows and rock outcroppings. The sun hung in the west barely touching the horizon, low enough to illuminate the hillsides but leaving the valleys and lower slopes in deep shadow. On the opposite side an almost full moon began peeking through the chaparral.

The sun dropped below the far hill and the moon rose, the two painting the sky and clouds in sliding colors that changed with each moment. The shadows this pair produced had more hues than I new dark could paint. I will never drink in enough of this scene.

In the morning I found the cans and cups decorating the hill. I gathered them up and took them out with the trash to the end of the drive. There in the bushes was the box–a twenty-four pack–waiting to be added to the lot.

When i was young, I first learned what it meant to be intoxicated. It is a heady feeling. You feel as if you are in charge of the world. Although I soon learned this was far from the truth, I have been glad to find that euphoria exists beyond Bud Lite.

I hope my young friends had a sip of my brew along with their own and will acquire the taste. It is one I am happy to share with good company.