After dropping off my daughter at school this morning, I went for a drive. Wandering off the beaten track, as I often do, lamenting my lack of a 4-wheel drive vehicle, I drove my wimpy little Volt up hill and dale in pursuit of yet another undiscovered vista. Turning onto a narrow unmarked road, my Brooklyn bred 6th sense was immediately on alert. Ignoring the quiet twang of the dueling banjos and the promise of Deliverance in my head, ignoring my moist palms gripping the wheel, I continued driving the dirt road along the steep side of a mountain for at least another 5 miles – partly in search now of a turnaround. Hmmmmm…. with no turnaround in sight, it behooved me to focus on the mountain to my left and the sheer cliff on my right. Abruptly widening before transitioning to asphalt, my scary dirt road, still too narrow to turn, announced civilization. Hopefully it wasn’t the kind that resided in “them-there-woods.” Banjos now notched up to a boom box remix with my heart beat, my relief was palpable as, up ahead I spied a ranch, a house, and yes, an extraordinary secret vista. At the road’s end a red tailed hawk on for her morning hunt swooped low in pursuit of prey, her mate gliding lazy figure eights over the deep canyon. The awakening valley below teeming with life yet so still, I feared my breath would intrude. Beyond the green mystery of ancient oaks and majestic deodars, the mirrored expanse of undulating blue swelled my chest, opening my heart and drawing from me a sigh of benediction and ecstasy and gratitude. I see myself in the stillness of being seen. And it is good.
Awakened, I am also fully aware that I was now “technically” on Private Property. Turning my lovely little Volt, quiet as a church mouse, we start heading back to civilization. I had an 11 a.m. appointment in town with Mr C to plan my very hectic schedule for the next 2 months.
This little drive was either a classic Lovely Lorraine Interruption or a blatant act of avoidance on my part from my 11:00 ‘Lock it Down’ meeting with Mr. C. The verdict is still out on that. So, I’m on my way down the mountain when I spy yet another little road I have always wondered about. I look at my watch…. “I can spare five more minutes”, I say to myself, “just five and then I’m done.” This business day has to begin after that, Lorraine! So off I go up that mountain which turns out to be a very short road into an extremely narrow dead end. I twist and I turn and back up and drive forward. That mountain ain’t moving and that damn cliff ain’t either, so clearly I have to back this baby Volt out. I begin reversing down the steep hill, the mountain on one side, another sheer cliff on the other, with a now anxious dog in the back seat. Slowly backing down, swatting the dog to lay down as his fidgeting is impeding my vision, I’m irritated but doing fine…. when suddenly I feel an odd dip…Hmm. This car has just dipped. “Hmm, a dip…. That can’t be good” I say to myself, “Let’s move forward, shall we?!” The ‘we’ being not the royal we but the proverbial “me and Jesus” we, or “Holy Fuck! OMG-What was that?!!”… we. I calmly put my car into drive as all my tires begin turning and screeching, turning and screeching, and clearly this car is not moving. “Is that rubber burning?? Yep…. I smell rubber… burning!! Rolling down my window, I look out and down to see the tops of trees in this new scary-as -fuck not-so-lovely valley. There is no road between my left wheel and that valley. My brain instantly goes into OhShit!OhShit!OhShit!!!!! mode and begins to list…
1. Turn off the car.
2. Put on the emergency brake
3. GET OUT OF THE CAR!!!
4. GET DOG OUT OF THE CAR!!!
Assuring myself out loud, “OK. You can do this. You can do this” “You have a child to raise You can do this!!” Holding my breath, I climb over the center console, ever so gently and quietly not wanting to disturb this somewhat delicate balance. Opening the passenger door…..I’m out!!! The dog is next. “Please, Jesus a leash. I need a leash. Please let there be a leash”. I find a leash. While I’m looking for said leash, Alfred, my New York ghetto dog, is out the car, he’s peed and pooped and is now on the prowl for coyotes, bears, mountain lions…. whatever the cuss lives up here. He has reverted to his wolf ancestry and is clearly gonna take down something big today. I snatch his ghetto butt, snap his leash, and tether him to me just in case I actually need his sad little thug protection. My cell phone miraculously has a signal. Thank you, Verizon!!! I call Mr T whom I left sleeping in bed. He wants to know how I got there? What am I doing there? What’s up there? “Irrelevant” I think, but concede to answering his decidedly male questions, in return for his calling AAA.
Twenty minutes later, Mr T. and I are standing on a country mountain road along the Backbone Trail, surveying my “backup of shame”. I have now completely dissolved into damsel in distress mode and am grateful not to be alone. Mr T has taken charge – and he is “on it”. Feeling safe again, I look around at the beautiful morning undisturbed by my minor drama. A cacophonous choir of morning critters are in full song: birds, butterflies, crickets and other things are now upland about their day. It is glorious. I look to Mr T to declare this “a AAA sunrise date” when something big and black looms up behind him. Just before my mind screams, “Bear!” I realize it is a very sweet black horse out for a morning munch and has just sallied up to us to say, “Hey.” That’s the moment I start to howl! A belly laugh from deep inside of me burst forth at the absurdity, the absolute absurdity of this day. Here we are…… Mr T and Alfred and Me and a Horse.