The Torrent: as a child, I loved the violent tides of the heavens and the earth — wind storms, hail, the rumble of thunder, even earthquakes. That may be an indirect testimony to how safe my parents always made me feel, but, as an adult, responsible for roofs and roads and parking lots and lives, I’m ashamed to admit the weather can fill me with dread. I watch the deep red swirls of Doppler radar with gritted teeth, because I’ve seen what a 20 minute, four inch rain storm can do to Wilshire Peak. Dry streams turn into rivers full of grinding boulder and shredded pine. This year, we’ve experimented with some small berms that turn the water out into the grassy orchards, and it seems to be helping. You can’t control the volume of water, but you can slow it down and keep it from gaining too much speed. We managed the first six inches of Oak Glen rain, this season, without losing the road to the packing shed.
Pray for snow — the fine, light, slow-melting white stuff.
Speculating on Next Year: The Covid era has made for its own strange business cycles and fluctuations. Last year, when everyone was closed, we had enormous walk-on business. This year, our dinner theater was so full, we sold out weeks ahead of time, and we couldn’t open up more dates because staffing was difficult to secure, and when a tickle at the back of your throat leaves you wondering if you’re a plague-bearer, it’s difficult to know who will be able to work and who won’t. We would love to have two understudies for every part, but we don’t charge $998 a ticket, the way Bette Midler does. (Who understudies for Bette Midler, by the way? Jack Black? Rachel Levine?)
Orchard Lights: Anyway, we’re thinking about opening up December evenings next year with an old fashioned evening illumination — pear and apple trees decorated with flickering lights, Christmas carolers, walking trails, food vendors, hayrides, maybe even an ice skating rink. We think if there’s a new version of the Commie virus plaguing the region, there should be a place for normal people to do the Andy Williams winter-wonderland thing. What say you? One of our boys is thinking about taking a month off to run the affair.
Saturdays and Christmas and Family: the cycle of the calendar meant that Christmas and New Year’s fell on Saturdays this year, and that meant it was probably smart for us to close for the Holiday break, which meant that the Rileys spent a fair amount of time together. Topics of conversation: Elon Musk’s proposed smart phone, and then Elon Musk, the marvelously eccentric and non-conformist person, followed by parlor games, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” board games, unhealthy portions of sourdough toast with butter, too many See’s Bordeaux candies, a few too many glasses of Chardonnay and then fitful sleep through flood watches.
Life — to be certain — offers up a fair amount of joy, but it can be brittle and melancholy even at Christmas. We’re missing people in our circle. Instead of Luke 2 this, year, we read John 20, because I felt the need to skip to the end of the story. Bethlehem is the promise, but the weeping Mary at the empty tomb, (“..they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”), well, what follows is more like the coronation of the King. It’s a startling, ancient kind of positive journalism: a story of life eternal. What more can anyone hope for, but to hear the God-man speak your name, just like an old friend — “Mary!”
In these times of utter insanity and cowardice, it’s comforting to know we’re citizens of heaven right now. Behind all the lies, truth stands there like a mountain peak at sunrise, untouched by heathen fog. Believe, children. Rush in and take hold of it. Hold onto the Kingdom of Heaven with both arms. Believe as though your life depended on it, because it does.
Tags: Christmas, Elon Musk, illumination, Lights, Rain, Weather
Categorised in: News
This post was written by Jim Riley