Boot soles engraved upon a dusty canvas. Distant avian warbles. Three leaves float by, twisting and confused. I am walking upon a new path.
They said the trail would be well-worn, victimized by L.A.’s gregarious tree-huggers in their quest for something spiritual, or organic, or just physically taxing. There’d be plenty of folks “out and about” they said, diddling amongst nature and surveying the landscape with digital cameras and packaged granola. They lied.
Dehydrated trail, animal activity, much sweating. Halfway up the route, the rattle sounded, a baby playing in another room, fang-laden and pissed. Fourteen steps later the serpent appears, squinting, coiled, willful. On film, snakes don’t jump, they lunge, or rather, strike out an arm’s length, a bit like those furry creatures in the cans of artificial nuts, the ones that give guilt-laden heart attacks to old men and make young children squeal. But film is fiction and lead actors tend toward a level of valor apparently absent in my genetic makeup.
A forty-year old man’s shrill shriek is an awkward combination of tea-pot kettle and nails on a chalkboard, tinged with the high crescendo of just flat-out being a pussy. Flexibility decays over four decades, and thus, the airborne splay of contorted limbs, flexed neck, crooked fingers, and a perversely-angled left ankle, might remind one of an old oak tree in the midst of a cruel winter. In a local treetop, a crow commits criminal acts toward a frustrated finch’s eggs. It hears my scream and flees.
This entry lacks some didactic parable-ish type of thing where good destroys evil or the dangers of straying from one’s proper path. Instead, I’m just going to suggest that when you go hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains, you’d be well-advised to toss in a dose of courage and an absorbent set of diapers. Just sayin….