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An Autumn Morning at Yosemitebear Farm, California

I wake in a sweat.  Cold at bedtime, it’s impossible to imagine that I could ever be warm again and I fall asleep with the heater on high.  And wake every morning in a sauna with hair that is more wet sculpture than style.

Broken handle

A broken handle makes coffee-making a dangerous proposal.

The bedroom is an outbuilding and I am outside before I am inside again.  In this brief outside moment, I get an enthusiastic canine greeting from dogs that are clearly more morning people than I.  Every day is new for them.  And every greeting as enthusiastic as the last.

I feed the black cats that live on the roof; a boy and a girl identical excepting the tiny sprinkle of white fur on the female.  They’ve been up all night, lunatics in the dark, running across the tin roof.  This morning meal is their bedtime snack.  G’night kitties.

Entering the trailer, the floor warps beneath my feet.  Each step forward is a gamble.  The floor, thirty-five years old and patched with metal street signs and plywood, talks back with each step.  Will today be the day I fall through?  It’s an exciting question for 7 am.

Out front, I grab a pinecone as large as a football from a rusty wheelbarrow.  Returning inside, I seat myself in a rocking chair and am now in position to start the morning fire in the delapidated three-footed wood stove.  Where could that fourth foot have gone?  I’d like to know the story there.  Does it have phantom pain in the area where a single brick now props up it’s heavy body?

I crumple paper balls out of newspaper advertisements glancing at the values about to be set aflame.  So many things I do not want.  I am thankful that I rarely desire these things anymore, seeing possessions as more hinderance to freedom than help.  It’s experiences I desire with the appetite of a fasting linebacker; insatiable in that way.

Back to the task at hand, I enjoy the smell of the inky advertisements.  The crumpled paper, the pinecone, the kindling and the oak log ignite with a single match.  The pungent smell of wood smoke fills the room.  This small job pleases me and provides the instant satisfaction of warmth.  Simple pleasure.


Football-sized pinecones from the Bull Pine Trees are good for fire-starting.

Without a toaster, toast is made in a skillet.  Without a coffeemaker, coffee grounds are boiled in a pan and poured over a sieve into a broken-handled pot.  This job requires alertness in handling or the punishment is scalding.  Cream and sugar finish off this morning gift which never ceases to please me day after day.

With coffee in hand, an assessment follows.  I stand at the window overlooking miles and miles of mountain landscape.  The light is golden and the morning shadows are long with sharp edges.  Everything is more shiny, more saturated, more crisp than in the Summer. It seems that Autumn light works much like the “enhance color” feature in Photoshop.

The fire blazing behind me now warms my back.  My eyes follow the contours of the closest mountain.  Yellows, browns and greens cover it in swaths. Neon greens, absent in the summer, now appear in the fresh grass brought by the rain.  Acorns and oak leaves litter the front yard.  Cool air rushes in through a gap in the window.  The sky is robin’s egg blue filled with clouds like a painting – billowy and fat with misty trails that follow behind.

It’s going to be a good day.

The view

The expansive view from Yosemitebear Mountain Farm


  1. Your morning routine sounds so peaceful. I’m wondering if (because of Bear’s fame as the double rainbow guy), someone would be willing to donate floor repairs (or even a new trailer for y’all). Hmm. Enjoy those Yosemite mornings – – true heaven on earth:)

    • A new trailer would be nice. It would be my dream to build something simple but more permanent here. But for now, with limited money I do as Bear does and accept and appreciate what is. It truly is heavenly.

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