One of the great things about having company come and visit is the fact that you go and do things around your own neck of the woods that you usually wouldn’t. Recently my cousin traveled across the pond for work and since he was in L.A., he extended his trip in order to make his way up North to visit us. As a result, he is staying with us in the little shoe-box, where we have all been tossed around like Jujubes in their multicolored box in order for all of us to fit comfortably, which is sometimes the best way to visit each-other isn’t it?
The most recent California drought has made things very interesting up here in Gold Country. Like everywhere else in the State, we are on water rations that look to become more stringent as the Summer and record heats continue. Lawns are drying up, people are looking into replanting their gardens with native plants and they’re catching water in buckets as they shower – that doesn’t happen in my household because I can’t quite figure out how to haul it to the garden efficiently, but I’m told it can be a very, well, interesting process in the households that are doing it-.
Besides the very apparent water issues, or the lack of water issues, and the lifestyle changes that they cause, up here there’s the added interest that the reservoirs are becoming more and more empty as we all look on. Over the last 100-plus years dams were built in the foothills and mountains of California in order to catch water to feed not only nearby inhabitants but those far flung residents of the State too. In creating these dams, the original bridges and towns that happened to be located next to the original rivers were submerged. Believe it or not, these historical buildings, roads, towns and bridges are kept in a state of preservation in their murky underwater locations.
So with the historic and more recent background behind us, we’ll move forward to the future as in yesterday and the visit my cousin, my son and myself made to see a quickly reappearing old bridge that has been submerged for 20 plus years. Its moniker is Old Parrotts Ferry Bridge, and it is seemingly so close to the bottom of the reservoir that you feel as though you could just walk out in the water next to it and not end up submerged yourself. That actually isn’t the case, but our unsuspecting selves were focusing on the water and didn’t realize that the ground underfoot would be an issue.
It always fascinates me how different members of the same family will approach things very differently, with some blazing forward regardless of potential pitfalls while others hold back and wait to see what happens to the blazers before making their decisions about what they will do. Although my cousin is a mild mannered type of guy, he would be firmly categorized as a blazer,while my own son is a wait-and-seer, and I am an inbetweener. It caught us all by surprise when my cousin was walking towards the water to look a little more closely at the bridge, on what seemed like a dampish soil, only to find himself sinking in a full calf length deep in the stuff.
When I saw that he didn’t sink too far down – as in hip deep -, I took my sandals off and ventured out in the silty, muddy stuff myself. I also had the extra motivation of having to get photos for a story I’m doing on the underwater towns. So, I was literally caught between making a horrendous hike down there and coming back with no images of the bridge and having to do it all over again, or have a toe squishing mud experience. I chose the toe squishing.
Funny thing was, once I actually sunk down, and I knew how far I would sink, it wasn’t really bad at all. The mud was cool and soft, and besides the Zombie like hissing and whooshing noises every time I took and step, it wasn’t really that bad at all. Of course, the hike back up was another story – note to self and others, never wear wedge sandals even if there’s a long-shot change you’ll be hiking up and down an old road in almost 100 degree heat, and never ever forget water again! If I heard of someone else doing what I did, I would have had a made pointed commentary about that undoubtedly would have included the words, “not so brightsa.” Yesterday, I was the one who was definitly, “not so brightsa.”
Not so birghtsa or not, taking step and sinking knee deep in muddy ooziness may not be for everyone, but it certainly gives you a fresh perspective on life in general. As in, no matter how far down you sink, there’s always a bottom, and where you find yourself when you get there may not be as bad as you think.