I don't like to think about it, but even Oaks die eventually. I had feared that this one wouldn't awaken at all this year, but thankfully leaves started on it only a month or so after most of the others were showing signs of life. It is not well, but it is still alive. A lot of the landmark Oaks of Paramount ranch are dying, but there are young Oaks to take their own places. Some are the offspring of Oaks long on this land, some have apparently been planted, but they will be the ones that the Fairies and other dwellers will come to call their own.
The regular Equinox reunion was rained out, and many people suggested that we reschedule for the Solstice, to see who might show up to remember the days that still live within us. Nothing official came to pass, but come the Solstice I made my way out anyway. In years past I have met with other like-minded people, but this year it was not to be. It was only myself and the lady who had chosen to accompany me, she hoping to tap into a bit of the golden age I often speak of.
WInter had taken a long while letting go of our domain. Real weather in Southern California is a rare occurance, and the rain that had washed out the reunion had only recently called a halt to its welcome presence. In a matter of a day or two WInter had given way to Summer. The Sun was hot. The air was dry and the ground was baked. There was still green on the plants; it hadn't been long enough for them to realize the fate that awaited them. The start of the ripening, after the growing - as summer should be. Then comes Autumn and the harvest, but that was still a way off.
We parked in the main lot and made our way past Western Town, wine and food in a backpack I carried. There were people gathered in the green of the park, but no one once we walked on.
There are signs that others come here. The Washing Well has a distinct path to it from the road. Other signs that we were here and have been here since can be seen. Hawks circled overhead and crows eyed us suspiciously as we passed. A few bunnies scurried in the brush, and there was an occasional lizard annoyed by our passing.
We walked to the top of Procession Hill and looked out at the emptyness. I pointed out some landmarks to my friend and told her some more stories. I read the names from the list, such as I have it, of those can no longer walk this land with us, tearing up a little as I realized how long the list was becoming. A toast to absent friends, and a reminder that they are remembered.
We walked down to Witches' Wood and laid out a blanket and our feast. We had lunch, did some things a man and a woman might do when they're alone, and made our way back again. By the time we were back more people had gathered on the green. I wondered briefly if anyone from The Big Lebowski Burning Man Camp had ever been to Faire. Day was no longer day but was not yet night. We walked back to the car and drove back into the present.