I once lived in an apartment in Covina, California, for eight months, without ever exchanging words with the folks who lived in the units on either side of us. A head-nod or a casual wave was the best I could ever manage.
However, up on our mountain, though the nearest neighbor is a quarter-mile’s distance away in any direction, I feel as close to those around me as I possibly can, considering I may not see certain individuals for months at a time.
I remember back in the mid-eighties, when friend Richard motored up from San Jose on his BMW motorcycle, and when he came into the house from our parking area, he wore a worried look on his face.
“You know, you left your keys in the ignition of your car; you might want to take care of that,” he reported when he came into the house.
“Oh, that’s OK,” I responded. “We always do, just in case one of the neighbors needs to borrow a vehicle, and we’re not around.” It was an old line we first heard from a buddy who hailed from Oklahoma, but it still applied.
“The thing is, Richard,” I went on, “Up here we are so remote that we rarely see anyone. I’m not saying slicky boys can’t rip us off; I’m saying it’s highly unlikely.” In point of fact, we have never had any sort of unsavory incident, in the 35 years we have lived on this mountain.
Hell, until 2010, when I added on and relocated the back door to the house, I didn’t even have a door handle with a locking mechanism. I still do not lock the doors for the simple reason that if someone wanted to truly get into my house, a couple of good kicks or a rock would be all that would be needed to break the glass on one of the panes of my front door.
Small communities, even the ones that are spread out in rural areas, are generally tight knit, an expression that simply means we have each other’s backs. Karma is karma; what you put out will inevitably come back to you.
Sometimes, particularly in negative situations, it seems that karma takes her jolly good time. Are you listening, Karma? Number 45 and his henchmen…
That being duly acknowledged, let’s return our focus to the immediate present. During the recent four-day Kate Wolf Festival, a scant three weeks ago, HappyDay Farms was immersed in a series of water crises.
You know, SS-DD. (Same shit-different day.)
Almost simultaneously, as these things are apt to do, we lost a 5,000 gallon tank of water, down the side of the hill, and we had two more five thouies end up saturated with thousands of acorns, from some industrious pack ratty sort of critters.
We’re still trying to figure out how the acorns entered the sealed tanks.
The bottom line is that we were in water crisis mode for a couple of weeks, during which time neighbor Rick, graciously and generously, offered SmallBoy the use of his pond, if that could be of any help.
The most precious commodity to a farmer, offered in time of crisis, with no strings? That there is some good stuff.
Fast-forward to yesterday, all of about twenty days later, you know? Somehow a grass-fire was ignited (perfect application of the passive voice) over at Rick’s, and before you knew it, Cal Fire was on the scene. Almost within spitting distance of Rick’s spot, is our pond. Not all ponds can be accessed by helicopter, and Rick's was not.
Whereas our pond is still more than three-fourths of the way filled, having the water located below the farm, means we have to pump it to the top of the land, which explains why we have crises. We can only pump so much per day, via our solar pump, and it takes time to recover from water spilled.
Hence, SmallBoy’s need for water at his spot at the top of the property.
Disclaimer: Hey, it’s not like someone could stand at the water’s edge and wave his hands around, shouting, “YOU CAN’T HAVE MY WATER!” You know?
That being said, had we not spent the loot to put in the pond, the water would not have been available, and Rick knows it better than anyone else.
Whereas the situation does not qualify as instant karma, a few weeks having elapsed, it might be thought of as “Quick Karma.”
Unless you are Rick, of course, and watching a wildfire go ape-shit. Then, helicopter with water = instant karma.