Seeking The Elephant

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“Seek the elephant.”  Al, a retired rancher, told me as we sat on his patio watching the setting California sun.  The green rolling hills of late spring surrounded us.  Pretty soon everything would turn golden due to the dr...

“Seek the elephant.”  Al, a retired rancher, told me as we sat on his patio watching the setting California sun.  The green rolling hills of late spring surrounded us.  Pretty soon everything would turn golden due to the drought.  Thor, one of Al's giant sheep dogs, sat up, head cocked to one side listening.  A few birds called good night to one another amongst the trees along the creek.  A running faucet could be heard from the kitchen.  Conny, Al’s wife, was finishing cleaning the dishes from dinner.  Underlying everything was a soft static, almost more of a feeling than a noise.  It was the sound of the Pacific just a few miles beyond the hills in front of us.

“That's what me and my friends called it.  To seek the elephant was to go on an adventure.  Find something exotic and beautiful.  Yet, this place kept dragging me back.  But, I’m not complaining.  It’s peaceful here.”

“I agree.  This place’s beauty has an almost magical quality.”  I told Al.  “When I used to read Steinbeck novels, this is the landscape I’d conjure in my imagination.  A land serene and graceful, where the hard work of the people trying to survive is an artform rather than a struggle.”  

“That’s romanticizing it a bit.”  Al smiled as the sun went behind a hill.  “But it is almost like heaven.”

“Yeah.”  I nodded.  “And it's also my elephant.”

 

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