Carrizo Plain

I drove out to Carrizo Plain today.

This is Soda Lake. Last time I was here, in December two years ago  the lake was drier and surrounded by white deposits left behind by evaporation. 
We here in San Luis Obispo County are still in drought, but the rain has been better of late. It is a wonder to see the land get green. 
I think I had it in my head that seeing the pictographs -- ancient paintings on rock -- would serve as a metaphor this weekend. That in spite of everything bad that can happen -- changing climate, displacement and conquest, bad presidents -- some things survive, creativity endures. 

You're not allowed to take pictures of the pictographs, to show respect. And they seem to be fading, to be honest. So instead I took pictures of graffiti. 
And old farm equipment. 
And I decided it's silly to look for metaphors. 
It's more important to keep creating, to keep making, to keep supporting each other. 


Addendum: I did find a metaphor of sorts: 


I don't think barbed wire is going to hold them in. 

Cow-a-fornia Cow (39)

So I was driving out in the country somewhere east of San Miguel. I was on a mission. I was looking for a cow. 

"I don't think you're looking in the right place," Bertie said and I nearly drove off the road. I carefully pulled over into a driveway and stared at him. 

"Where did you come from?" I hissed. 

"I mean this is all vineyards. Cows live on ranches to the west."

"Not this one. Why are you here?"

"To help you. Now let's get back on the road before it gets dark."

I learned years ago that it was a waste of time to argue with my imaginary friends and family. It's just that it has been so long. I thought they were gone for good. I swallowed my argument and pulled back into the road. I've forgotten what it's called at that point. It seemed to change name every three driveways. 

"We've gone too far," Bertie said after a bit. 

"What? But google maps says..."

"The road name has changed. You wanted something on that last stretch."

"Look, Bertie, I think I'll trust --"

"Your destination is on the left," google piped up. We rolled to a stop on the shoulder. To the right was a steep hill. To the left was nothing but a creek and a field. 

"See? No cows."  I ignored him and looked at the little flag on my phone. "You should go back to the last driveway. I'll bet it's up there."

"I'm ignoring you."

"Not very well," Bertie observed as I carefully turned the car around then turned down the driveway of Ranchita Canyon vineyard. The driveway seemed to go on and on forever, but eventually it came to a small parking area near a building with a deck. There were people on the deck drinking wine. 

"Quite shocking at a vineyard," Bertie remarked as we got out of the car. 


It was there. The first cow of my journey. 

"Seriously? Why not just call it Cowabunga?"


The plaque read "Cow-a-fornia Cow." The artist was Kerry Donlon-Bowen. 

"I think it's pretty," I said. The flag and the monarchs particularly caught my eye. 

"Are you going to marry it or take a picture of it?" 

"Shut up!" I hissed and took a picture with my phone. 

"Excuse me?" The voice came from the deck. It belonged to a large, grumpy looking man. "Were you talking to me?"

"How can you be grumpy when you're out tasting wine?" Bertie asked. 

I put the phone to my ear and said, "Hold on."

To the man, I said, "Sorry I was on the phone." He grumbled but sat back down. I scurried back to the car. 

I started it up and turned around as quickly as I could without looking like I was running away. Soon we were on our way back down the long driveway. 

"See? Told you I was here to help."

"How in the world did you help? You almost got me in a fight."

"I helped keep you from dillydallying.  You have a lot of cows to see."

I groaned. I might be making a mistake trying to see every cow in the SLO Cow Parade. 

"Are you going to bother me for all the cows?" I asked. 

"No," said the kid whose name I can't remember from the back seat. 

"We are with you as well," said his friend Prasad. 

And I knew for sure I was making a mistake. 

EOY: Reading

Happy New Year!

28 books. 1 more than last year.

Authors 19:9 (count by book)