By Douglas V. Gibbs
Author, Speaker, Instructor, Radio Host

The rounded shoulder of Mount Emily gazes across and downward at my little piece of paradise.  The trees whisper as the breeze threads through the branches.  It is sunny at the 500 foot summit of paradise, with a slight hint of briskness that forewarns the night will be rather cool.  In the morning, the coastal fog will wrap around the hills and fill the various crooks and crevices of the surrounding valleys, but at this moment before dusk the clarity of the lands east of Brookings, Oregon, is devastatingly beautiful.
The night sky comes later in this part of the country during the warmer half of the year.  At night the sea of stars spills over with a breathtaking scene of the Milky Way, providing a parade of stars too numerous to count.  There are no street lights.  No cars passing by.  No sirens in the distance.  Only the night sky, and the peaceful darkness that shrouds my one bedroom cabin in this little corner of Heaven, are my companions at the moment.  In the nearby distance I can hear a bat flutter by.  Fortunately, I closed the garage, or else it might be a prisoner in the rafters for the evening.
The morning comes early this time of year, and the deer march along their time-worn paths, seeking their favorite grazing grounds, and the occasional yuck like me tossing them apples.  During the hotter time of the day they are molested by gnats and flies that make me feel a tinge of sympathy for them.  First thing in the morning the pests are present, but not in such great numbers.  The younger deer do not recognize the apple pieces flying in the air, but the old gal closest to me does, and she is cautiously getting closer to retrieve the next piece.  My caretaker’s pile of trash we dragged out of the garage lays along the grass as the deer slowly walk by.  He used to be able to convince a couple of the regulars take the apple slice right out of his hand.  I’m not that brave . . . yet.
My fortress of solitude up in the Oregon forest is a game room attached to the house my father left to me many years ago when he passed on.  A pool table, pinball machine, and CD player are my companions as I sit at the bar and type these words.  I am listening to Kutless, a Christian rock band, as I type.  My wife is across the garage on the other side of the house in the living room talking on the phone with her sister.  I made salsa earlier to accompany our supper.  I plan to make tacos, rice, and mashed pinto beans with just the right seasoning.  Before we have dinner, however, I have to pause to look out the window.  My friends are back.  A number of deer are here, and the old gal is looking at me, asking, it seems, “Do you have any apples for me today?”
I suppose it’s time for me to fold the computer, and toss some more apple pieces to her.  My audience awaits.
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