Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Wild Zone

"Once this all belonged to them."--Gabrielle Cianfrani

The San Lorenzo River flows down a deep, wet, thickly-wooded crease between two mountain ranges and enters the Pacific Ocean at the city of Santa Cruz near the Boardwalk's roller coasters. A hundred years ago the valley's redwood trees were clear cut to rebuild San Francisco after the Earthquake, leaving a string of small logging towns along the river--Boulder Creek being the most remote. Jabir's Quantum Tantric Ashram is located a few miles north of Boulder Creek on a dead end road with three other houses. Most of my neighbors are non-human and live across the road in a big area I call the Wild Zone.

Once you enter the Wild Zone, it is possible to hike with some difficulty all the way to the crest of the Santa Cruz range without crossing a paved road. The Zone is populated mainly by deer, coyote, raccoon, possum, skunk. squirrel and the occasional wild pig and mountain lion. I have never spotted a lion in the Zone but the wife of a nearby friend reports seeing one cross her driveway after a recent forest fire, possibly seeking a new home.

The highway that runs through the valley is a kill zone for wild animals and finding many of them on my walks I often pick them up from the side of the road and carry them into the Wild Zone so someone can dine on them far from traffic. Sometimes they are eaten in place, leaving just a few scraps of fur. More often they just disappear. Into the Zone I've carried many squirrels, a few raccoons and possums and someone's big white rabbit that escaped its cage and wandered onto the highway. My biggest catch was a yearling deer which I loaded into the back of my car and dragged into the Zone with a rope. It weighed about 50 pounds and was gone the next day. Probably an easy supper for a big cat and her kittens.

A few of the Zone's inhabitants come to visit me at night. Crafty raccoons and skunks have learned to open the cat door and finish off what Kitty didn't eat plus whatever I've forgotten to put away. The raccoons will flee when discovered but the skunks hold their ground until they are finished eating and will let me get quite close to them--almost nose to nose--if I move slowly and make soothing noises. This year there are two of them, both born this summer. They are visiting less and less frequently and I expect they will soon be gone, off to start their own families deeper inside the Zone.

1 comment:

dogfaeriex5 said...

you are brave to get that close to mr you me and my daughter heather also stop to move 4-legged friends to a softer spot and out of the way of the assholes who drove like maniacs on our country road and who are responsible for their deaths...
happy new year-marilyns daughter-kim