The promise of rain hangs over the Ojai Valley

The promise of rain hangs over the valley. The purple lupine looks so happy on this cool, hazy, cloudy Easter morning. It would be sacrilegious not to honor the goddess Eostre by skipping out in nature. Honey is already so wild with excitement I can hardly leash her. So, to celebrate, Honey, Nubio, Chico, and I head for the gate. I remove the leash and Honey stampedes out into the wild like a racehorse, with the energy of a herd of wild buffalo unpenned, running neck and neck with Nubio, and with poor little Chico scrambling to keep up.
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Chico comes back panting—he’s had enough. Quacking ducks  fly overhead,  and I realize that maybe I let the dogs get too close to the water. I call Honey back; she’s caked in mud. I leash her as we walk toward the reservoir, toward the lilting, haunting sound of birds calling, toward the symphony of living, holy water. My Pentecostal background rears its head and I consider baptizing myself, but the day  is too cold. Instead, I wade into the mossy cool water, close my eyes, and listen to the water’s song . . . The running stream tapping rocks reminds me of the Indonesian bamboo xylophone . . . I hear the music of the gamelan. The Balinese in me could take a bath here; it would be like an ancient spring rite. I hesitate, and the urge passes.
As we walk, my eyes drink in the soft greens of every hue, from light to dark. With Easter on my mind the river bottom feels like an enchanting Easter basket. The light keeps changing—now brighter, now darker—and streaks of clear blue sky appear and disappear. The sun peeks out and the promise of rain seems to evaporate, but then a few drops fall. I feel the bliss of creation.On the way back, I see bright orange sun-drenched California poppies. And then I remember how we came to Ojai in March of 1957, and how my middle sister and I picked poppies and other wildflowers and put them in little vases on the table to surprise my mom before Easter Sunday breakfast. I remember feeling alarmed when some tiny bugs ran from the flowers onto the table . . .
We walk past the scents of jasmine and orange blossoms. The jasmine grows on the fence around the orange orchard. The light has changed again . . . the sky grows dark . . . we caught the bright Easter morning just in time.

It’s raining!

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One Response to “The promise of rain hangs over the Ojai Valley”

  1. Suza Francina Says:

    A reader (Alison) posted the following Comment underneath a different article so I’m copying it here. She wrote:

    “Whoa, Free Spirit… remind me not to drink out of that reservoir…”

    “…as we walk toward the reservoir, toward the lilting, haunting sound of birds calling, toward the symphony of living, holy water. My Pentecostal background rears its head and I consider baptizing myself, but the day is too cold. Instead, I wade into the mossy cool water, close my eyes, and listen to the water’s song. …”

    “Very poetic, but dogs and people do not belong in the drinking water.”

    Just in case anyone else is concerned, I want to clarify that the stream is away from drinking water (it’s not the reservoir). A little further up horses and people cross to nearby trails … and all kinds of animals likely walk through and drink from this stream. Plus there are ducks nesting and swimming.

    Like

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