Meanwhile Back at The Ranch
Emmylou Finegold moved with steady grace up the walk to the old farmhouse that used to be the main building of a school and before that a farmhouse of a retired police chief of San Jose. Her hair was long and indefinitely brown speckled with grey. She carried two large buckets of steaming milk so smoothly not a drop overlapped the rims. The house looked like it belonged on the main street of an 1890’s town, the home of some well-to-do prosperous type who kept most of the gain to himself, but being out in the middle of golden hills and scrub farmland, it looked less like a show off. It was yellow, the color of a dark lemon with white trim, and was surrounded by a porch with a steep awning on the corner of which hung dilapidated swing seat for two. The front steps were broad and inviting leading to a large white door. Emmylou hummed a Buddy Holly song as she swayed gently to rhythm of the milk in the pails. The morning around her was blue and crisp. She set the milk down and turned to survey the land and sky. All was well and right at least in this place. She opened the broad white door, picked up the buckets and headed for he creamery at the back of the house. She had done the goats, and there were still the cows to milk and eggs to gather. She saw the red message light flashing on the phone and thought, “I’ll check that later. Just probably a wrong number anyway.” She never talked to herself, but she began to sing in a sweet, whispery, soprano:
Every day seems a little brighter,
Every load seems a little lighter,
Every goat is a little bighter,
She lost the melody and trailed off into aimless humming then found it, a few more words coming to her:
Every day it’s a gettin’ closer
Goin’ faster than a rollercoaster
Love like yours will surely come my way a hay a hay
Her voice trailed into the echo of cement creamery. She felt a little nervous about the song. It was not a song she was very familiar with, but it seemed to want to come out of her now like a message she was singing to herself.
Every day it’s a gettin’ longer
Every day love’s a little stronger
Do you ever long for
True love from me, a hee, a hee.
She shook her head and chuckled at the last hiccups. What a way to sing.
After she had dealt with the goat milk. She went out and milked the cows and gathered eggs. She sang some Eagles’ songs as she did these chores, much more to her taste.
Golden Gate and Blue Grass
Random, Steve, and Lin packed up their stuff and got in the car, taking off for the Golden Gate. It was a fine crisp, blue morning with a few puffy clouds, and the ever-present fog bank loomed out on the horizon. They rode across the orange bridge into Marin County and took the turn off up to Muir Woods and the old fort on the point. There was a lot of traffic going up toward the park. And they saw signs for a blue grass show in the afternoon.
“We’ll just walk around a little, and head out before the show.”
“Hey, Man, I like Bluegrass. Its happy howlin’ music. You could use a little a’ that right about now.” Steve bobbed his head to imaginary fiddle and banjo.
“What is blue grass?” Lin asked truly puzzled at the concept of blue grass.
“It’s old timey fiddle and pickin’ tunes from the Appalachian mountains back east. They named it for Kentucky, the blue grass state,” Steve answered still bobbing his head.
“I have never seen blue grass.”
“It’s not really blue. I don’t know why they call it that.”
Steve looked to Random to see if he knew. Random just shrugged his shoulders.
They parked the car and walked up through the woods to the cliffs and the old canon emplacements facing out to sea, like an ancient monument to the god of war.
Random sat with his back against a cement wall, leaned back, letting the sun and slight cool breeze wash over him. It was the finest feeling of deep restful sadness and joyous life. It was like love from the world that he soaked into the deepest parts of him.
Steve and Lin wandered off into the woods, Steve’s low, quiet, voice rumbling little points of interest, Lin responding matter-of-factly.
Random drifted off into doze, but he was still aware of rough calls of birds, the sun and breeze. Far away, faintly, the sound of a Bluegrass band practicing “Everyday” by Buddy Holly drifted in and out. He began to hum along, but the lyrics escaped him in his totally relaxed state. They played it slow and soulful with a mandolin and fiddle and a high lonesome singer howling to the blue sky dome, under it all the boom of the tide against the rocks at the bottom of the cliffs. Random had no idea how long he had sat in this state it could have been 10 minutes or 2 hours when Steve tapped the side of his foot with his shoe.
“Hey Man, let’s get goin’ that ol’ blue grass thing is gettin’ started soon and we are gonna have a helluva time gettin’ outa here then.”
Random hopped to his feet so fast that Steve backed up into Lin and had to hold on to her to keep her from going over.
“Alright, I’m ready. Let’s go to Point Reyes,” Random said quickly. He had come out of the daze with a hunger for some undefined wild adventure. He found his bearings and strode off toward the car without taking notice if the other two were following. He was humming “Everyday”, but the lyrics were still not coming to him, buried under a feeling of vague anticipation.