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The Bang Bang Theories

Signs for the Times

As much as I am afraid of nature, it’s a bit of a contradiction that I  bought a house with a backyard that contains a whole lotta wildish nature.

Not wildish by Alaskan or African or other crazy parts of wildass animals, insects and things to be afraid of, but wildish by city slicker standards.

I mean, there are BUGS that can bite you really hard. And sneaky snakes that could be right under the next footfall. And some coyote, and a blind raccoon named Taco that the neighbors care for, who wanders the ‘hood at his leisure, and skunks and moles and groundhogs and oh, yes, a beaver who used to live here until a really hard storm washed away his dam and now I haven’t seen our old grey-snoot feller in quite some time. Damn.

I miss our beaver. Because I like nature, just usually from the vantage point of the deck.

So it came as a complete surprise to both myself and My Mister when last Sunday, after a day of mostly bed and sadness, I popped up and said, “Let’s go walk around the ravine!”

My Mister didn’t move because he was fairly certain those words would just hang in the air and disappear and we’d go right back to watching more telly and probably order a pizza.  That was his hope, I’m sure.

But nope, not this time – I was meaning it.

I like to journey into my backyard once a year – ya know, get my money’s worth – and last Sunday seemed to be the day for it. The weather has been really Fall around these parts, far sooner than I’m happy about. I love autumn, and if cold winter weather only lasted a month, I’d like that, too. But it’s a long season of it and frankly I can’t afford to put on another winter layer of chub so I need more Fall, which makes me frisky like my friend’s doggie who wants to go for lots of walks now that there’s a bit more nip to the air. I don’t want lots of walks, but my yearly jaunt to the ravine seemed like a good idea then, and maybe one more time, too. Just when you think you know me, you don’t. I’m an unpredictable wildflower, Reader.

It’s not exactly a dangerous hike to my ravine as there is a stair set.

Now it can be a bit treacherous as the top step is missing a board and needs fixed up, and quite frankly I’d like a rope rail or something that fits naturally while helping old Trixie Bang Bang keep from tumbling down and cracking her skull at the base of rocks. So far she’s been lucky and steady and it hasn’t come to that.

So far.

I did, however, buy a $12 hiking stick from myself at my old job, and it has a light on it and navigation. Because I may need all those bells and whistles for my yearly fifteen minute walk in the ravine.

I do have aspirations to hike, Reader. I’ve been daydreaming of hiking to Havasupai Falls, to the point it’s a bucket list aspiration. But it’s TEN MILES in and TEN MILES out. Reader.

Reader, Reader, Reader.

My 24-year old hair stylist just went and texted me a few details. She’s 24. She CRIED during the hike. Many times. She said it was the hardest thing she’s ever done. She’s 24 and bendy and has good knees!  But I’m still not deterred.

Is this where Trixie Bang Bang has taken a breach from reality, where I think that maybe just maybe if I park far enough from the shopping mall entrance I can condition myself to the point I can hike to and from these falls?? Sure, there may be some tears, but in the end they will be washed away as I stand underneath these waterfalls.

Oh, Beautiful Nature, why do you have to come with such a difficult journey??

While there is a fairly good chance this will remain an unfulfilled bucket list aspiration, at least I keep it on the list. I maintain my hope, Reader, is what I’m saying.

Which is quite possibly exactly what I got from my unexpected and unplanned walk in the ravine last weekend. I needed a reminder to maintain hope.

Everywhere I turned I saw signs. Some from nature, some manmade, but kind of exactly what my heart needed last weekend and now.

The ravine runs really high with water throughout the year. It can wash away big trees.  There’s a lot of turnover – nothing stays forever down there. It’s constantly changing and moving on down stream.

This rock was sitting there by the water, saying to me, “Come on over, take a look.”  So I marched over in my flip flops rugged hiking boots to get a closer look.

I’m not a church-going type. Don’t mistake that for non-believer. I believe in a higher power. I don’t believe in a Jesus-on-the-cross-prayer-will-heal-everything religious point of view. I have learned that prayer cannot heal. We have prayed hard as a large community and it does not heal. However, it may bring comfort. I pray for comfort and peace within our souls. For myself. My family. My friends.

The beauty of signs is that we can interpret them however we choose. Whatever brings us what we need.

I still have a wrapped-up-but-still-open foot wound, so I was careful not to just plod across the water n my flip flops hiking boots. We found a little rock bridge and crossed over to the other side.

The cats were beyond excited to follow us on our adventure.

All of us except for Nosey Dots crossed over and took a little stroll downstream. He was not feeling curious enough to risk getting splashed.

This was waiting for us on the other side.

I put in my official twenty or so minutes in the backyard, but since we weren’t interested in going around the bend we rounded up all the kittehs and told them it was time to head back.

A bit of nature does the soul happy, and I was feeling a bit more bouncy on my way back towards the other side.

The other side of the ravine was cheering me on.


Now, My Mister didn’t see a rock smiling at me when I pointed it out to him, but comeon. It’s RIGHT THERE. Smiling at me! I think an open heart can see extraordinary in the ordinary. Or it’s the copious amounts of wine.  Whatever, stop judging me, Reader. I see a smiling rock and a cross rock and a heart in paint, which was not tough to imagine.

However. This heart was letting me know it wasn’t all by happenstance.

Nature was cheering me on during some weak times, making it possible for me to cheer for others who need a rally.

It’s been some sad times and also some happy times, and river of tears and some big belly-laughing moments and hugging your friends and holding your family and saying I love you more often. Which is really just life.

I should listen to Gussy a little more often and enjoy the treasures of the ravine. He thinks this is the ultimate playground, right there in his own back yard.


p.s. – this is once again a post that started a week ago, and I just can’t seem to finish them up lately. Sometimes when they start I have a whole story laid out in my head and then it comes with a flat ending when I pick it back up again.What da ya want for nothing? … a rrrrrrrrubber biscuit?

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