I’ve been walking late afternoons around French Gulch, a section of Lake Isabella easily accessible from the road. The water is so low that sometimes I’m directly on the lake bed. A brisk wind causes small waves to lap at the new shoreline that is littered with small clam shells the size of dimes and quarters.
Even with minimum water the lake is beautiful. Here and there a few fishermen stand patiently with their fishing rods, ready to catch large mouth bass, and renegade catfish. An occasional boat can be seen on a far away shore, and yesterday a family was camped a few feet above the water line.
I walk briskly, up and down the sandy, dirt roads that criss-cross the gaunt terrain, thinking about the critters that might join me at any moment-might come down f
rom the hills for a drink and some leftovers, or minnows.In my childhood hometown, Foxburg, PA, the black bears still saunter across the defunct railroad tracks, now a bike path, to the Allegheny River.
coyotes, or bobcats, even bandit raccoons, bewildered by the dry creeks, having to travel farther, even across the busy highway for life sustaining water. Taking a photo of a cluster of large, smooth boulders, I halfway expect a Western rattler to emerge, yawning from its nap, from between the cracks.
I think about what I’ll say to them. The first thing I’ll do is apologize for my race -all of us homo sapiens because we have fucked the earth up and are not capable of getting along with other enough to make amends. I’ll tell them I hope I have another chance, in another life, even if it’s on a different planet, to make amends.
“Still, I will say, I am ever so grateful to have had the pleasure to see you all alive and free in spite of sharp-shooters and greedy cattlemen, and the dumbasses who think snakes are out to get us; that all in all its been a pretty sweet ride on the big blue ball.”