Monday, March 02, 2009

Hermits Don't Make Good Friends

We've been back in California since mid September. That puts us here nearly six months. You know how many old friends we've called since our return? We can count them on one hand and still have three fingers left over. Isn't that odd? So it's really interesting when we run into friends we know well, and have to admit that we've been here that long without calling them.

We had that happen just the other day.
We were hiking in Pogonip on Saturday. The rains have brought out some fine new flowers and fungus. We walked the oak-filled canyon, listening to a symphony of bird songs, and photographing cup fungus and flowering trillium.
On this rare occasion there was a couple hiking along behind us. They didn't have a camera, and weren't stopping every few minutes to photograph something. So, while I was bent over photographing this beautiful iris, they passed us by. I watched them walk on ahead disappearing behind trees as the path curved and bent its way through the canyon up toward the big meadow.
We photographed two coyotes in this meadow last month. It's a big beautiful expanse of coastal prairie that overlooks Monterey Bay. I'm always full of excited anticipation when we approach this part of the park. There's a particular snag that I expect to see a Golden Eagle in. It hasn't happened yet, but it's where my eyes go as soon as the meadow opens before us.

On this particular day, the couple who had passed us was now just below that snag, and two people walking in the opposite direction down toward the canyon had stopped them. I could tell from their animated hand gestures and the way they all turned and looked over toward the bay that something interesting was in meadow. Soon enough, the two people moved on down the trail towards us leaving the couple staring out. I could hardly wait for them to tell us the news. When they approached, we were surprised and delighted to see that it was a very dear old friend B and her daughter L. We've known B for more than 25 years, so of course we ran and hugged. B said, "Hey you guys, I heard you were back, how are you? There's a bobcat back up there in the meadow."

There are always those moments in life when you are compelled to make a quick decision. The brain doesn't even register the conflict and consider the pros and cons with any deliberation. It just acts. I knew I should have stayed to talk. This is an old friend we haven't seen in a while, someone we haven't called since we've been back, and here we were running into them in the middle of this meadow. But instead, I just say, "Hey, so good to see you well, I gotta go and photograph that cat. Sorry, I can't talk." And, then, seriously, I turned and ran into the meadow without looking back.
Roger stayed and chatted a bit, but it was pretty obvious I wasn't going to return. So our friend and her daughter moved on down the trail. Roger joined me. He watched the bobcat through the binoculars, entranced by its beautiful white markings on the back of those black-tipped ears. We stayed and watched it hunt, savoring every moment of it.

I felt guilty afterward, wishing I had stayed a minute longer with B and L, and been more amiable. I guess hermits really don't make very good friends, do they?

1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous!! And as you did, I would have made a bee line for this rare opportunity to see this lovely creature