November 9, 2008
Did I tell you that I live in a wonderful “shack” hidden amongst the hills of Riverside? My door opens towards the mountains of Box Springs Regional Park. This is a wilderness preserve on the border of Riverside and Moreno Valley. One of the landmarks of Riverside is the “BIG C” situated at the top of Box Springs Mountain near the University of California. Years ago someone painted a large letter C on the rocks at the top of this mountain. This letter can be seen for miles. My shack faces the Big C just across the valley. I am tucked behind a hill and I am thoroughly camouflaged by orange trees and bogonvilla. A large carob tree rises up just beside my kitchen and shades the entire area. My shack is hidden from the surrounding neighborhood, and at night it is dark and peaceful. In spite of being within the city limits, I can hear no sounds. Anytime I wish I can walk through my gate and take a stroll in the wilderness. Late at night I hear the howls of coyotes running in packs through the hills and fields. In the months of May and June a nightingale always visits me. Each year without fail the same bird returns at the stroke of midnight and sings me to sleep during these months. His song is happy and cheerful. There are old twisting stairs that lead down to my shack from the house above, and from these stairs I have a unique view of the canyon where a set of train tracks snake their way along the base of the mountains. Twice a day, at 8 in the morning and at 11 each night, a train comes chugging down this canyon. At night it is a magical sight to see it slowly make its way towards my shack. The distant headlight of this train glances on my shack for just a moment before the train veers to the right and heads into Riverside. I love my shack.