The day is bright and humid. The endless hum of lawn mowers, all summer long. The grass grows lush and green. The trees heavy with monstrous leaves and creeping vines. Gold and purple wild flowers a meter high at the side of the road: Golden Rod, Deptford Pink and Bouncing Bet.
The Hudson River meanders gently toward the city, decorated at its marshy edge with great swathes of invasive water chestnut. Feeding the lazy Hudson River, fast moving creeks course down the mountain, over shallow rocky beds and over the curvaceous, verdant landscape, dramatic water falls, giddy tributaries. Vast, flat abandoned reservoirs formerly providing local industry with renewable energy. Magnificent 19th Century, red brick factories stand empty, patiently waiting for a thousand weavers to march through the mahogany doors and start weaving again.
The land like the water resources here in upstate New York remains mostly uncultivated. That California with no water still provides America with the majority of its fruit and vegetables while this verdant place remains fallow.
No lawn mowers in the Santa Monica Mountains. Just the wheeling of the hawks, the booming crash of the waves at night rolling up the canyon with the morning mist. They ask me if I miss Malibu. They wonder why I would trade Malibu for this. I had 12 good years in LA before I had my last rather complicated… year and a bit. Do I miss it? No, not really. I miss my house, I miss slopping around that huge room. Looking at the ocean. The dogs finding patches of sunlight. I don’t miss the rattlesnakes or the coyote. I don’t miss the brush clearance. I don’t miss the winding road to the PCH. I miss the prestige of having the house. I do.
The magnificent pines at the back of the house, the Brazilian Orchid Tree, the figs, lemons and cherimoya. I wonder who takes care of the carp? I wonder if the gophers invaded the garden this year? I wonder if they fixed everything I never got around to?
As one grows older it is harder to make sense of change. Rapid, inexplicable change. This is the great secret of the third age. We are less adaptable. We seek comfort and safely. It is hard to imagine what will come next.