Between the Lines

There Goes the Neighborhood

The contractor is gone, the painter has departed, and the electrician has shed light where before there was only darkness.  The house glints fresh green as the afternoon sun finally pierces the clouds on this unusually warm winter day: 65 degrees in full sun.  Asphodel are arising from their winter graves, ghostly white and waving in the warm breeze.  Three months after buying this little gem in the middle of Sonoma County’s wine country, I finally have a moment of peace.  It’s done.

For the moment, that is.  There is no finality in these matters.  Aside from the natural process of decay, which besets all things—especially houses—there is my own natural desire for elaboration, for new and higher fortifications with which to adorn the castle.

I moved here for the land, the sweet soil that is literally bursting with life, a natural exuberance that can only be characterized as Bacchanalian.  Vineyards radiate across the slopes and curves of the land, like a caress.  Yes, this is California’s wine country, but Sebastopol is famous for its apples, its soil lauded by Luther Burbank as the ideal location for an orchard.  I sink into loamy softness as I walk across the field in back of my house, wildflowers blooming prematurely among the tall grasses.  A tree branch waves in the wind like an arm outstretched, the sinuous...

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