To Be A God
AMONG THE first to arrive, we climb to a bench beneath a tree. Beside us over a low stone wall the vineyard falls away across the hillside. Gnarled vines uddered with grape, evenly spaced and pruned, manacled each to its low frame, descend in long green lines. Among them move a horse and plowman, slowly, with unsure footing, the red earth turning between the vines, plowshare flashing in the sun. In the grass along the wall, a column of ants; on stage two, young men arranging chairs for the string orchestra. The sun is past the zenith, throws a pattern of leaves on my wife’s bent head. To the west a tidal wave of fog spills over the coastal hills, is burned by sun to incandescence. To the east, down-sloping fields, a line of trees and a ravine, another vineyard, a meadow and more trees, and the level valley floor, cities and towns, the freeway like an ant trail, the silver bay, the far mountains, summer . . . the blue sky over all.
My summer too, far enough along to see the end: work a little harder, make more money, children off to college, freedom then and the world tour, back and more work, weddings and thrown bouquets, and then the coronary. Is this the way to live? Who knows the question knows not how; who knows not the question cannot tell.
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