Ralph Higgins

Ralph Higgins
color pencil sketch by Gayle Higgins

Quotes I Like

"If you do not take an interest in the affairs of your government, then you are doomed to live under the rule of fools."

– Plato


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Leash Laws & Plastic Bags

Gayle and I got home two days ago after a great visit with our kids, grandkids, and many of our friends in Los Gatos and Discovery Bay. It was terrific.

            We are now acclimating to mountain living once again after spending three weeks on the “ant hill” that was once the beautiful town of Los Gatos

Up here in the Sierras we know what a car is.  We’ve actually seen them, but we saw thousands of them lined up on Highway 17 from San Jose to Santa Cruz.  It was awe-inspiring.  It appeared to be a migration, but maybe they were hibernating, because they weren’t moving. But thousands more were rushing to join the queue to experience sand and seagulls, with little kids waving from the car ahead.

We stayed with friends in very nice neighborhoods.  You can tell it’s a nice neighborhood by the sound of lawn mowers and leaf blowers every morning at 7 am. Scientists still haven’t determined where leaves and dust go when blown.  No one has a lawn here in the mountains.  Although grass is common, lawn mowers aren’t.

Gayle and I just returned from our daily walk in the forest.  It’s so quiet there that I can hear my new knee click with every step.  I’ve been known to turn around, thinking I was being followed, but now I use the “clicks” to accompany the songs floating through my mind.  I have a built in rhythm section and can determine the song’s tempo by how fast I walk.  Once a musician, always a musician.

My dog is “leash free” now.  He is back home in the woods, chasing lizards, birds, and anything else he can’t catch.  On our trip, Dakota experienced civilization and the brave new world of leash laws and sidewalks.  I was introduced to small plastic bags used to pick up Dakota’s tangible expressions of his dislike of civilization. I admit to cheating sometimes by guiding Dakota behind a bush and contributing to a green world by saving a plastic bag. But, I’ll admit, Dakota quickly became a good canine citizen.

In the city, anyone who doesn’t have their dog on a leash is a moron.  A dog wouldn’t last five minutes with the traffic, so I’m in total agreement with dogs on leashes in the city.  It’s just that my mountain buddy enjoys the freedom he has here in Greenhorn Ranch. We follow different trails each day in the forest for variety and my companion is never on a leash.  He runs free and explores the smell of bears, coyotes, mountain lions and other wild critters.

While in civilization and after a few days on the leash, Dakota mellowed and didn’t pull against his restraint.  He gave up his freedom, albeit reluctantly, because it was for his own good; for his own safety and security. His master determines what's best. He had no option but to obey.  Dakota joined the ranks of tame dogs walking obediently and passively with their masters, sniffing furtively at passing dogs.  Sniffing is the limit of freedom for a city dog.

            After watching the machinations of our government, maybe I need to get used to a collar and leash myself.  Like my dog, maybe I'll happily acclimate to less freedom and more restraints.  Maybe I'll be a good serf.  Maybe I won't strain against the master's leash. Maybe - but not likely.  Not me.


  1. Yep, Los Gatos aint what it used to be in the "good ole daze". Welcome to the dotcom way.
    I ignore everything and everyone around me and still find little secret trails where the faint of heart are afraid to venture. And, like you, the only sound I hear is the clicking of my knee. The pounding of my heart is considerably quieter since the wonders of modern medicine and the skilled hands of the surgeons worked their miracle.
    Happy Trails to You Ralph.

    Bob R.

  2. Great comment, Bob.

    Watch out for rattlesnakes on those secret trails. There's a good story of your experiences in that "world-famous" book about the Huckleberry Days.

    Speaking of walking and clicking - we should walk together and see if we can "click" in sync. Let's hope we can still get replacement parts for a few more years.

  3. I've been stomping around these hills for 60 + years now and have only seen two rattle snakes. Maybe the knee clicking scares the off.

  4. Hi Ralph. Glad you're back. Three and a half weeks without your post's was really pushing me into withdrawal.

  5. Thanks, Malcolm.

    I actually wanted to write a post, but I didn't have access to my "blog list." Most people leave civilization for vacation, but we did it in reverse. Had a great time despite the congestion and traffic.