There’s a nasty, dark little beastie that lives inside my brain. It crawled in there when I was born from the Casey mix of the genetic soup. It can crawl out and pull a dark curtain over my world in a matter of minutes. It’s all chemical, so it doesn’t matter the season (that little problem–called SAD–is the other little beastie that lives inside my brain), it doesn’t matter what’s going on in my life or the world, the only thing that triggers that critter is a specific change in my brain’s chemistry.
People who suffer from this kind of depression don’t like to talk about it because no one can really understand what these episodes are like, unless they experience them. It’s the kind of thing you never want to experience ever again, but you know you will and that’s, well, a very depressing thought.
Anyway, this is the only time I’ll refer to this beastie in this blog because I don’t like to talk about it, but I mention it now because it decided to come out and play with my sanity this week and it all led up to the events I do want to talk about . . .
So Wednesday afternoon I was an emotional mess and a friend said, “come on, we’re going for a ride.” We went out into the country headed for Lake Solano Park (which charges a fee) and we passed a road and I said, “Have you ever seen the lake from that road? You can get out and walk and it’s free.” Well, “free” was the magic word and we went to where the lake met the road and parked.
We found a bench that was cracked down the middle, but was surprisingly sturdy and sat and just soaked up nature. We sat there for a couple of hours, taking a wonderful mental vacation.
We watched a couple of young women fish their kayaks out of the lake. The banks were so steep, they had to swim for them and drag them up. We watched the black and white dragonflies and a bright red one dart about.
The most interesting thing were the birds. There was a pair of baby ducks running across the water, their wings sounding like a paddle engine. Their parents floated nearby, keeping an eye on them. Vaux’s Swifts chattered and darted around the opposite shore. Swifts are birds without a care in the world as they entertain each other with acrobatic whirls and dives. The occasional Great Egret, Anhinga, and Great Blue Heron skimmed across the water in search of a meal. Turkey Vultures floated on the thermals.
And then there was the Osprey. It circled high above the lake and then dove into the water. It didn’t catch a fish on the first try and flew out of sight toward the dam for the Putah Creek Canal. It flew back and circled over the same spot and dove. We couldn’t tell if it caught a fish, but it wobbled as it flew close to the water to the trees, like it was carrying something. The third time it came around, it dove closer to the middle of the lake and a fish dangled from its claws as it triumphantly flew away.
It was getting on toward six and hunger took us up the road to the small historic town of Winters. The whole way there looked like this:
Walnut and almond groves for as far as the eye could see.
Winters is a quaint town with a restored downtown. They’re trying to turn it into an artists’ colony of sorts and it’s the gateway to nearby parks and lakes. Bicycling is big on the windy hills between Vacaville and Winters. It doesn’t matter the day of the week or time of day, I’ve never driven on those country roads without meeting up with at least one cyclist.
So where did we go in this wonderful quaint town after a couple of hours of communing with nature? Here . . .
. . . of course. It’s a typical California Irish Pub. Small, dark wood interior, bar, couple of tables, couple of video games . . . this one had a couch and a couple of overstuffed chairs in front of the window. Sole purpose is to drink and socialize.
My friend had a Corona. I’m an ale, not lager, person, so I asked what ales they had. The young lady on the stool next to me pointed to a tap with a blue moon on it. She explained it as having a wheatie taste that was cut with a slice of orange. Sounded interesting enough to me so I got one. Very nice. The orange mellowed out the taste.
So we sat there talking to the young lady behind the bar and her mom, who owns the place, was playing one of those video games and she explained how much take they got from having it in the bar, except most of the money was theirs because they played it so often.
The girl next to me and the one behind the bar talked about the glory hole near the dam on Lake Berryessa. How only one of the three people who ever jumped into it survived.
They also talked about the time emergency vehicles whined through town when they were younger and how a bunch of them followed the vehicles out to the dam. The big emergency was a couple of climbers stuck on the bluff over the dam. They were too scared to move up or down.
I couldn’t help but think about when I grew up near the Shawnee National Forest which was full of deep hollows with tall climbing bluffs. Rock climbing and rappelling are major outdoor activities in Southern Illinois. They were always rescuing people off the bluffs there.
We were still hungry so we walked around downtown until we came to a Chinese restaurant. Good food. Good company . . . Just what the doctor ordered. Thanks, friend.