This evening, before sunset, I met one of our local USFS FFs patrolling Plaskett. I was so glad to see him. He grew up here. His lineage dates back to one of the original settlers here on the South Coast. This land is in his blood and he knows it like I never will and probably loves it more than I do. I’ve known him since he was in 6th grade when I worked at the local one-room school, and that was … 20 years ago? Really? That long ago?
It was so good to see him, and know there were other “eyes” up here on a Friday night, when all the campers and hunters are filling the place up because there is no where else to go. Campgrounds are full.
With triple digits temps, single digit RH, and two fires having burned to the east of me in the last two days, and six in August alone here on the Central Coast, I breathed a sigh of appreciation for his presence. I did not realize how alone I felt up here, until I saw him. I think I can relax a little.
We stopped and chatted for a moment. I told him, “You know, I’d almost rather it come at me, then have all this anxiety of waiting and dreading when it does. Sort of like going to the dentist.” He laughed, but I think he knew what I meant.
I knew my banjo strings were pulled a little too tight after last Friday’s confrontation with the campers with the campfire. But to know that sometimes, and especially on these hot, dry Friday nights, other eyes will be watching out for this forest of ours, brings a quiet calm over me when I most need it.