There are many special places along this small strip of California coastline I now call home.
One of them feels particularly special because I get to visit every two weeks as a volunteer goat milker. What began as a once-in-a-while opportunity has become part of the rhythm of my life. The rhythm of rising early on a Monday morning and driving south on Highway One. The rhythm of the seasons, the fog, the sun, and the changing colors of the hills on San Gregorio Road. The rhythm of cows and calves, of yellow mustard flowers, of the black earth freshly tilled, of the harvest.
What makes a place special, anyway?
This was a place built by women.
She had come to meet a friend at her home on top of the hill. Her friend wasn’t home.
Maybe she’d remembered the wrong day. So she walked down the hill a bit, looking for a neighbor who might know.
Only to spot a woman banging on her water tank’s reverse thread coupling with a hammer yelling, “WHY? WHY? WHY?”.
It was, she says, a sister-in-need moment.
Time to help with the skills she had learned all those summers of her childhood on her uncle’s ranch in Oregon. She knew how to live in the weeds. Always carried a toolbox in her truck. Had one that very day, in fact, just another walk up the hill. She would end up fixing the toilet, too, and staying another seventeen years.