I want to write something about the house I’ve been staying in, or at—my first few nights were spent in my tent—but I don’t know where to begin….
It is a largish property, at least in comparison to the house which is a squat, adobe, two room affair, usually dim inside, with wooden rafters supporting a ceiling slanting up at five or ten degrees from the south wall where there is a series of small rectangular windows, to the north wall where there are none but within which a set of double doors is installed.
Much of the property is bounded by cottonwoods and other native deciduous trees. Most of the lawn is sandy, dry and hard-packed, covered in a patchwork of different, unmown grasses, like an old tattered sweater with many holes in it. There is an apple orchard on one corner of the property which has been neglected so much so that the apple trees planted there are hardly leafing and will need a fair bit of care if they are ever to produce fruit in their lifetime. On the more wild, southern portion of the property which borders her neighbor’s yard where a few horses wander, the grasses and weeds grow more thickly, taller, and greater in number. Amongst all of this are large, sandy cones of course granules, like grains of salt that have agglomerated together with the help of a bit of water, about twelve inches high and in the shape of perhaps a cubist breast or a bra worn by Madonna in the 80’s, and fire ants scurrying in and out and all around them.
Near the clothesline where I camped for a couple nights is a mound of firewood that had been clearly dumped and forgotten. On the porch by the entrance to the house is a neat row stacked waist high. A rain catchment basin is situated at a lower corner of the house, gutters directed into it. From the stack of firewood where I’m standing writing all this I can see scattered about all over the yard are piles of dried cut twigs and plant detritus, an empty plastic bucket, gallon water jugs (also empty), dog bowls and flowerpots, an old Radio Flyer full of sticks and torn up weeds, two plastic trash bags filled (with weeds, presumably) and knotted off… Mainly it gives the appearance that a rather confused and disorganized person was in the middle of yard work before being summoned off somewhere with no time to organize or clean up.
The air is cool and almost always filled with the song of crickets, doves, magpies, the occasional chatter and drumming of a woodpecker, and the buzz of a fly or two. I’ve just spotted a Western Tanager (a first!) and some sort of flycatcher. A truck rumbles down the dirt drive, and a neighbor’s cat, two in fact, are on the prowl along the treeline bordering the lawn, one seated on a downed log peering at me with that disinterested, disregarding look that cats are so expert at, while I stand here writing this. The air is clear. It is always clear. Rain was forecast for today, but never materialized.