Our ValleyWe don’t see the ocean, not ever, but in July and Augustwhen the worst heat seems to rise from the hard clay of this valley, you could be walking through a fig orchardwhen suddenly the wind cools and for a moment you get a whiff of salt, and in that moment you can almostbelieve something is waiting beyond the Pacheco Pass,something massive, irrational, and so powerful eventhe mountains that rise east of here have no word for it.You probably think I’m nuts saying the mountains have no word for ocean, but if you live here you begin to believe they know everything. They maintain that huge silence we think of as divine,a silence that grows in autumn when snow fallsslowly between the pines and the wind diesto less than a whisper and you can barely catchyour breath because you’re thrilled and terrified.You have to remember this isn’t your land. It belongs to no one, like the sea you once lived besideand thought was yours. Remember the small boats that bobbed out as the waves rode in, and the men who carved a living from it only to find themselves carved down to nothing. Now you say this is home, so go ahead, worship the mountains as they dissolve in dust, wait on the wind, catch a scent of salt, call it our life.
We always imagine some future self that won’t ever get pissed off — that’ll always go to bed on time, always brush our teeth, always enjoy mind-blowing sex with our spouse on Tuesday night. And yet, Stephen Hawking begs to differ: "We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star."
The rushing relief was like the first drag of a cigarette. Btw, if you don't smoke too much, the final drag off a cigarette is a powerful nerve tonic. Highly recommended. I've smoked five or six cigarettes my entire life, and each one was fucking awesome. I seriously hope I don't get cancer.