I take a walk down the road to get some fresh air and keep my blood flowing. All this sitting makes me mad—my youthful legs want to stretch and grow, my muscles ache for movement. I decide to head out to the trees and steal some of their oxygen, so I shrug down the driveway and slip into the redwoods.
The trees are giants, gods towering over me, grouped together in threes and fours, their trunks too big to wrap my body around. In all honestly they’re too big to wrap my mind around either. Along the side of the dirt road a couple sits in their black pick-up truck. I don’t notice them for a while, but when I do I become suddenly aware of myself and my abrasive presence in this place—my Nike tennis shoes, my bright green track shorts. We stare at each other. The man wears a wife beater and has slicked back, greasy hair like a Big Boy’s Burger doll. He nods, and the girl next to him looks down at her legs.
As I keep going I come upon an old RV set into the side of the hill. A white woman in her mid-40s walks by, dread-locks hanging down her tanned back, and her pit bull barks at me from the driveway. I try to remember how best to react to aggressive dogs. Do I turn and look it in the eye or just keep walking? The dog’s growl tingles down my back, so I keep walking.
Sun streams through the long, straight branches, and water burbles down the creek, and in a pocket of granite where I stop and stretch I feel suddenly lost in another world. On my way back to the house the woman with dreads stands a the edge of the drive with one arm on her hip, staring me down just like the pit bull at her side, guarding their territory. Can I blame them? Who am I in this place? A disruption. Despite the trees by my side, and the moss at my feet, in this mountain there are not friendly people, and I am not in Eden.