It turns out I missed most of July in Reno. I had so many ambitions to become an active part of the community and instead I abandoned those plans for life on the ranch. I spent most of my summer there, working on Sierra Valley Farms, which is right across the valley, and also working the Thursday and Sunday farmers markets.
I found myself more than just in awe of the grandiosity of the ranch and valley. I rather started to love it and feel that sense of belonging. With school just starting the noises from my bedroom in Reno are ambulances, revving engines, endless activity from downtown and the loudest crickets I’ve ever heard. That is one of the only natural sounds I hear in Reno and those crickets are doing everything they can to out compete city sounds. And let me tell you, they are doing a pretty effective job. Their chirps are so prominent I found myself inescapably walking to the rhythm of their music the other night on my way home from class. My dreams and even my heart beat seem to go in sync with their relentless racket.
I like those determined crickets. But on the ranch the sounds tell me about the day. I arrived this weekend late Thursday night, around 9:30. A relatively quiet time for the ranch but filled with the rustle of the leaves and the creaking of the house from the wind and the other spirits present with me in the night. Rayna, the goats guard dog, barked noisily from her post, sensing a new presence on the land. Bats swooped and of course the crickets chirped here too, but all in all a subdued and calm time for the ranch blanketed under the quieting cloak of night and trillions of stars in the sky.
Morning, or rather dawn, is a different world altogether. That hushed quiet is ripped off the land and the morning erupts with singing from the birds, that damned relentless rooster who seems to crow not only at dawn but throughout the day, the whinnying of the horse, the mooing of the cattle if they are close to the house and a hundred other noises that make waking at 5 inevitable, falling back asleep incredible and yearning for an afternoon nap irresistible.
Throughout the day there is chatter from sheep and goats, clucking from the chickens and the happy clatter of a day in full swing. At dusk Rayna starts barking again. She senses the coyotes coming out to hunt, maybe some mountain lions and raccoons. Her suspicious barking makes the dusk feel alive with predatory energy and a sense of danger. We walk during the sunset wondering if the rattle snakes are out, if the mountain lions are hunting nearby and if we should be aware of any other unknown dangers.
The sounds indicate the hour at the ranch, instead of my cell phone at school which tells me which far too air conditioned room I need to be sitting in throughout the day. The morning goes too fast, the afternoon is a blur and sometimes day turns to night without my even realizing that the sky has darkened. Weekends at the ranch are not only for relaxation. They are my freedom, my escape and the reparation of my biological clock: the one that doesn’t depend on technology.
I spent 2 weeks in Maine also, another free place that I love. Here are some fun pictures from that adventure: