I'm willing to bet most of my readers have never come home from work only to chase a llama out of their yard, dressed in a skirt and heels. No, the llama wasn't in a skirt and heels, though if she had been she might've been easier to chase. Despite its appearnce, a llama is a pretty quick, agile, and calculating creature!
My property abuts farmland, wetlands, and the desert on the quiet edge of civilization and over the years I've had my share of interesting visitors come wandering down my driveway. The occasional duck or pheasant. A few coyotes. A plethora of cottontails, and a handful of snakes. I've been charged by a mad muskrat and also by a sopping wet, angry gopher after I'd flushed it from its tunnel, and no amount of beating it with a rubber hose was about to deter it. The most unique guest was the short sojourn of a white dove, a bird rare to my part of the country, while the most annoying was the neighbor's peacock that insisted upon perching atop my garage every night at twilight which would set my dogs into a barking frenzy.
The two bison were the most intimidating of my guests, and the most comical were the sheep. There's no doubt left in my mind that sheep tend to follow one another. As I was working in my garden one afternoon, I glanced up and, to my horror, spied the entire flock of my neighbor's sheep blithely trotting into my yard. Not sure what to do, I sprang to my feet and ran toward them, yelling, "Go home!" And to my surprise, they did! Like a school of minnows, they promptly veered around en masse and crossed back over the bridge.
There could be things a lot worse in life than living on the edge of civilization. I've lived in small towns and I've lived in cities. I've lived in the desert and I've lived in the forest. I've lived in the mountains and I've lived by the sea. But I've always come home to the place I was born--a place of black, star-studded night skies, stunning sunrises and sunsets, wicked wild winds, horrendously hot dry summers and bone-dry, bitter winter cold. A place of bad water and good neighbors. My small place of comfort on this big and often lonely planet.
I've always come back to the place of my heart, where I can hear the silence, feel something greater than myself, and gaze out my window to anticipate my next unexpected visitor. No matter how often I may gripe and complain, as Dorothy said in The Wizard of Oz, "There's no place like home." And I wouldn't trade it for the world.
THE PHOTO: Sunrise viewed from my back door, Dec. 2013