‘The Canyon’ was one starting about a hundred yards behind our street.. running SE to widen as it extended thru Mr. Daly’s quarry on to the swamps in that part of Mission Valley..
The Swamps were just that.. mostly mud.. some quicksand.. moss.. long grass.. weeping willows.. catfish.. bullfrogs and jackrabbits.. fishermen mostly from ‘the hills’ to catch the fish.. drink wine and picnic..
We had our share of urban legends.. one about a native American woman called ‘the cryer’.. between that and the oldest graveyard known in CA we had our tales of spirits.. poltergeist.. and ghosts.. real and imagined..
Growing up had always found us moving to the place furthest from the urban center of town.. we were in one of the first developments in Lakewood.. a series of tracts in SE Los Angeles.. then on to another cultural ‘scene’.. Kearny Mesa.. in San Diego..
When a child.. my Mom was still searching.. still moving.. I would fill moments with books.. folks would find it very difficult to get my attention when I read.. once.. when ten.. I was forbidden to read for three weeks behind pinkeye.. one of the few times I cried,,
Now.. seventh grade.. 12 years old.. I was making friends and learning as allowed by the educational system.. and as I allowed myself to..
I was returning from a walk with my dog down the canyon.. walking back up the canyon.. my Scotty decided to make a break for it and took off.. heading home to dinner..
I resigned myself to being alone and slowed to a walk.. topsoil over the path had worn to decomposed granite.. the holly bushes were filled with wrens chirping over the black earth in shaded thickets below each berry studded bush..
A man quickly stepped silently from behind a large manzanita bush and stood studying me.. I scarce slowed my stride.. adjusting my direction to pass him.. he moved in front of me.. then.. without a word was gliding toward me.. a split second when he was passing through me was a story.. not a whole life.. a time.. from Italy.. in the 19th century..
Part two of ‘A short.. long time’.. a short story by A. H. Capper..