I'm going to tell you what I did this weekend, and how lovely and nice it was, but I must tell you that everything right now, everything, is colored with the blood of the ravaged South and New Orleans. I think we all carry our grief in different ways, so I think it's best to just say, yes, I am wearing this in the best way I know how, and I see that you are, too.

David and I ventured South to a town called Julian, CA. It's located in the mountains East of San Diego, and was an old mining town founded by deserters from the Confederate Army. It has managed to maintain that gold rush sensibility, and has remained small (not even a stoplight in the whole town). We went there, mainly, to see the wolves. There is a wolf preserve there where the Mexican Gray Wolf is being fostered to be re-introduced into the wilds of North America, where they were almost completely decimated in the 19th and 20th Century. Once a week, they allow a small group to go see the wolves (from a quiet distance). They were so gorgeous: massive, beautiful, fuzzy beings with huge paws. Last year when the fires ravaged the lands, a lone retired firefighter stayed with them on the mountain to fend off their destruction. I found that to be so heartbreakingly beautiful: protecting the innocent is the best of what human nature has to offer (listen up, FEMA).

We wandered back into town and happened upon a grape stomp festival at a local winery. If you have never felt the sensuous sludge of smashed grapes under your toes, you haven't lived. I highly recommend it. It was a beautiful moment, watching husband in the golden mist of twilight calf-deep in this purple/red liquid and thinking, "I get this. I get to have this, this joy. This perfect time."

Our Inn was just beautiful and had meandering streams, a trail to an abandoned mine, a ridiculously delicious breakfast, and a video tape library. We ended up chick flicking it with Steel Magnolias and Mystic Pizza, which both ended up being incredibly dated and kinda crappy (especially Mystic Pizza...whuh).

The next day, we drove further into the mountains and attended a historical re-enactment of life in the olden days, with people dressed up as mountain men, gold miners, cattle ranchers, and farmers. The best bit was the amazing slapdown that was the Native tribe (Cumai? Not sure how they spelled it), as an actual tribal descendant taught us the myriad ways that they had perfected living on the land. David and I were just awed and felt incredibly stupid compared to the brilliant ways these people prospered in simplicity.

The leaves outside our window were tinged with red - Autumn was encroaching, but only in subtle ways. We were too early for the apple crop, which apparently is the town's mainstay, but we did get a taste of the delicious cider and nonstop apple pie that is ubiquitous. Every other store is a pie shop or cider outlet, but many have signs saying "no apples 'til October."

Yesterday, we got to go horseback riding, which was the best part. My horse was Spike, and David's was Blackjack. I got no pictures, but David is so hilarious and adorable on a horse. He instantly turns six years old and has the broadest, silliest grin. This was a family's private ranch, so we got to wander lazily around their many acres and enjoy glimpses of wild turkeys and their cattle and other horses. The trees around Julian are still blackened from the fires but there is life exerting itself all over, with shoots of green pushing through the charred branches. If there's one thing I've learned again and again lately, is that that's the way of things. We break down, but nature pushes forward, always always.

1 Comments:

There is NOTHING crappy about Steel Magnolias! Its got.......And Dolly!........with the!!........and that.....

Its....its a gay thing.
Shawn Jackson | 09.06.05 - 7:15 pm | #

no, my little Mark, Rick, or Steve, it's not a gay thing. i've always loved that movie.

i should have said that i truly enjoy that movie and have always loved it...but revisiting it now after these many years, i see that it is a lot simpler and less deep than i remember it being. when i saw it growing up, i thought it had all these sage answers about women and life and death and stuff, but in fact it's really a very sickly sweet, simple and almost too precious moment in time. most of the performances (dolly, sally, olympia, shirley) are fantastic, and it's still worth it for the funeral scene. but what david and i both noted is that it's us that have changed (not the film, obviously), and it's amazing how perception can alter everything.

after seeing a lot of Truly Great film, going back to that movie is kind of like going back to picture books after reading Faulkner. which can be enjoyable (and watching it was).

the "crappy" was really aimed at Mystic Pizza, which had nothing mystic, and very little pizza.
a | Homepage | 09.06.05 - 7:35 pm | #

Your weekend sounds beautiful. So glad you got some happy time together, as far away from it all as it could be under the circumstances.
tifanie | 09.06.05 - 9:01 pm | #

strangely, i just found out that Julian is on fire again: http://salon.com/wire/ap/ archive...=D8CFEK1G0.html
a | Homepage | 09.07.05 - 12:05 pm | #

I love that amazing chin-up optimism of yours that allowed you to watch Mystic Pizza again, presumably in the hope that it would *not* be crappy. Oh honey, that's what pulls us through anything this world can throw at us. Hope.

It sounds like a perfect, perfect weekend.
Maure | Homepage | 09.07.05 - 7:53 pm | #

Wow! What a beautiful weekend. It sounds wonderful and relaxing. The inn looks so cozy and what nice gardens. I can't picture Dave on a horse though.
Lisa | 09.07.05 - 9:22 pm | #

If I had known he had this deep hidden desire to ride horses, I would have saddled some up rather than letting him and Chuck drive the tractor. Which, by the way, those city boys looked mighty fine on that tractor. So, did he sweep you off your feet all over again as you rode off into the sunset? Or did you both waddle back into the Inn for a nice hot soad in the hot tub? I speak from experience! By the way, we'll call the next time we have to round up as I WANT to witness this new side of David for myself. Love you both!
Prairie Momma | 09.07.05 - 9:58 pm | #

Yes to waddling, and a HUGE YES to wanting to ride when we visit you. We love it, even though we are kind of dopes at it. Then you can laugh at David with the doofy smile on his face.

Maure...*snicker*
a | Homepage | 09.08.05 - 10:09 am | #

By Blogger adriana, at Saturday, October 06, 2007 9:35:00 PM  

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