The Other World (2)

Deja Vu BlogfestThe post below is my contribution to today’s Deja Vu Blogfest, co-hosted by DH Hammon, Katie Mills (Creepy Query Girl), Lydia Kang and Nicole Ducleroir. It first appeared on October 19, 2011.


Another world intersects with our city world of work, cars, media, shopping. Our ancestors knew it. Few of us do.

This other world isn’t supernatural. It’s not in another dimension. It’s where we came from. It’s still here, but we left.

So sometimes it comes to visit.

The squirrel steals the figs off our fig tree. The armadillo roots up our newly planted rosebush. The deer eat our young crepe myrtle down to the roots. The feral sow, with her thirty-six piglets, feeds in our garbage can. The coyote pack, which we hear howling at night at the edge of sleep–howling until the neighborhood dogs yelp in envy–the coyotes disappear our cat. The panther, en route from Colorado to Mexico, growls at us out of the brush at the side of the road when we take our evening walk.

They’re just saying hello. They’re saying, we’re here whether or not you acknowledge us.

They’re saying, come out of your house.

A deer trail angles across our front yard. When we first moved here, we were shocked every time the deer passed through. It was as if someone’s herd of cows was roaming free, browsing on our grass. Fawns are born twenty feet from our front door. They and their mothers bed down at night on our side lawn.

Now, when I go into a city, I’m ill at ease. Something’s missing. Everyone’s human. Where are the other beings?

There’s a legend in this area that a herd of bison once escaped through a break in a fence. A whole herd of bison. No one ever found them.

They’re here, though, living down in Devil’s Hollow. If we hide in one of the caves tonight, we’ll see them pass by.

By S.J. Driscoll

28 thoughts on “The Other World (2)

  1. SJ Driscoll

    Thanks, Lena. I lived for ten years in Northern California and made it down to Santa Barbara a few times, though not enough to really appreciate it. I love the wild parts of California, from the Oregon border down to the Mojave and San Ysidro. Imagine–just a comparatively short time ago, the Silicon Valley area was known only for prunes, Topanga Canyon was known for bandits and bears, and the Malibu Ranch hadn’t yet been broken up and built over!

  2. Lena Corazon

    This is beautiful, SJ. The town where I grew up is about 20 minutes or so outside of San Francisco, but it feels like a little world of its own. We have deer and squirrels and the occasional fox that emerge now and again. Santa Barbara, where I’m currently living, feels even more rural. Mountain lions live in the foothills and occasionally end up closer to town, and a couple of years back there was a bear sighting near the college campus. I love being able to escape from the city and to live someplace where the stars are strong and bright, and I can feel a little closer to nature.

  3. Debra Kristi

    What a lovely post! This blogfest is such a neat idea. It’s so neat seeing what everyone has to pull from their archives. I love nature. I know it’s just beautiful where you are. 🙂

  4. stusharp

    The wild is fun, right up until the point when the cows from the agricultural college next door to the farm escape again and end up on the lawn.

    1. SJ Driscoll

      One of our friends was carrying a bowl of his special cole slaw to his pickup to attend a party. His mare chased him around the yard and delayed him for a half hour since she wanted her share of the cole slaw. I know what you mean about the cows. 🙂

  5. lynnkelleyauthor

    It sounds enchanting, Sally! I’m so glad you reposted this because I missed it the first time. I’m still plugging along in the blogfest! I skipped a bunch of blogs when I saw your name. I’m not going to get to all the sites today, like I hoped. So many cool reposts in this blog hop and I’m really enjoying it! Take care and have a great weekend.

    1. SJ Driscoll

      Hey, Lynn-Thanks for tweeting about the Blogfest. That’s how I found out about it. I’m still looking at everyone’s work, too. Have a good couple of days off!

  6. LydiaK

    We’ve taken over nature, or so we think. It’s all an illusion.
    Your writing is so beautiful, I really enjoyed this post.

    Thanks so much for joining the Blogfest!

  7. SJ Driscoll

    Hi, Kristy. There are steers and sheep on Eloy’s ranch across the river. We often hear the steers groaning (you can’t call it mooing) and the “b-boom!” of Eloy’s rifle as he tries but always fails to drive off the coyotes killing his sheep.
    I’m not ignoring your private note… just thinking about it. 🙂

  8. Kristy K. James...Living, Loving, Laughing

    Sounds like you live in an awesome, beautiful place, Sally. When we first bought this house in the country, one mile from the small town I’ve lived in most of my life, you’d have thought it was hundreds of miles from civilization. It definitely took some getting used to, but I wouldn’t trade it for city living ever again (unless more problems arise with the septic system and then I’m ALWAYS ready to pack it in and head for city plumbing!).

    We don’t have as much wildlife as you do, mostly cows and sheep on the farm across the way, but it’s still very relaxing to listen to them…and Jack barking because he really wants to play with them.

    But you know what, Sally? Based on your blog, and how eloquently you write here, I’d bet your books are every bit as good. 🙂

  9. jansenschmidt

    What a lovely post. With the exception of the wild sow and the armadillo, this sounds like my house all the time. The coyotes howl nightly, the deer and rabbits eat everything, squirrels chatter and chase each other across my deck. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  10. Prudence MacLeod

    Hi Sally, sounds like you’v e found your way home. At our core, we are part of that wild. I envy you the deer crossing. May I say also, this was beautifully written. Shoot, I was hoping it would be a few hundred pages longer.

  11. SJ Driscoll

    Hey, Pat, thanks for reading.
    This is an old area with a long, complex history, but a new area, too–descendants of the original German settlers can only claim 5 or 6 generations here. All the memories haven’t yet been wiped out by modernity.
    We never thought we’d live in Texas. We love it. Um, wait a minute–it’s simply awful. Don’t anybody else move here! 😉

  12. Pat O'Dea Rosen

    Hi, Sally,
    You’ve re-rooted yourself in a place so different from your previous homes, but it sounds as if you found where you’re meant to be. I hope you search for the phantom bison herd–and post about it.,

  13. SJ Driscoll

    “Past and present mingle at the edges of civilization.” Yes.
    Calgary’s one of the places I want to visit. Your description makes me want to visit it more. Maybe someday I’ll show up on your doorstep.

  14. Louise Behiel

    Calgary was built at the confluence of two rivers, I live on top of the hills that stand sentinel over the river valley – on the first steppe in the march from the bald prairie to the Rockies. It is quite common to see coyotes, deer, raccoons, and even an occasional bear. Sometimes it’s a nuisance but mostly it’s a fact of living in this corner of the city. And their presence always demands caution because they will bite. Past and present mingle at the edges of civilization.

    great images thanks.

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