QUAIL MUTTERINGS #29. Just Another Sunday (June 6, 2014)

QUAIL MUTTERINGS #29.  Just Another Sunday (June 6, 2014)


            I find it interesting how we, as well as other mammals, tend to find comfort in routine. As much as we complain about the “same old, same old,” we crave it as much as we admonish it. It’s simply human nature. This is what Sundays have become for Kent and me. And for the most part, we get excited and look forward to our Sundays.

We still rise early, just like any other day of the week, but we usually get to stay home – all day long. This, in and of itself, is worthwhile and enjoyable. We also allow ourselves, independently, to take a break from our usual routines of exercising and running first thing in the morning. I look forward to this mini-vacation. This little bit of difference, in a fairly scheduled, task-oriented week, is just the ticket I need to spruce up my attitude.

Last Sunday morning while working upstairs I glanced out the window and saw a deer standing at the top of the side driveway. On the way downstairs I snagged our son, Chance, and he followed me to the kitchen. Kent was out at the washing machine so I quietly opened the door and pointed out the mule deer which was still there. The three of us stood out on the porch watching for quite some time. I spoke calmly telling her how beautiful she was. “I hope you stay up here in this end of the canyon where it’s safer for you, and where there’s water.” She kept an eye on us, but seemed unafraid.

Then she began walking toward us! Halfway down the hill she stopped to nibble on some dry grass as I again muttered sweet nothings in her direction. A few minutes passed and she moved closer. And then closer still. Another mouthful of grass. Her big dark ears projecting out from her delicate brown face perked, listening to my voice. Our Lady of the Valley rounded the turn in the driveway and gracefully walked down the steep decline behind the trees.

The three of us moved slowly to the front porch as she parked herself at our galvanized cattle trough/homemade fountain for a long drink of water. She didn’t appear to be in any hurry at all. When her thirst was satiated she moseyed across the dirt road to the meadow before heading over to the creekbed and up the bank, continuing on with her Sunday morning stroll. She made our day. What a treat. The rest of my afternoon progressed a little slower and a bit more consciously, thanks to her.

Of course, we had to get on with our usual Sunday chores: picking greens and other ripe goodies from the gardens, watering, mucking corrals, dusting the horses and dog with diatomaceous earth, chopping poison oak, fixing things… These activities make up our Sunday rituals. Without Sundays, our weeks would more than likely bump into each other and cause stress and other unforeseen collisions. At least with Sundays providing a buffer, we have a better chance to cope with life’s buildup of tension during the week.

It’s also, ALL ABOUT DINNER. I begin early, usually preparing something we picked that day, to be ready by 6:00 PM. On Sunday evenings we look forward to our KPBS shows including Doc Martin, Ballykiss Angel, or Larkrise to Candleford… Six o’clock is awfully early to have all our chores done and dinner ready, but it’s part of our Sunday ritual that we’ve come to enjoy. So much so that we fiercely protect it by usually turning down the occasional invitation that might interfere with one of our favorite times of the week.

A couple days later, after being gone at work all day, I came home and took a walk to check-up on the various projects I have going on in the canyon. I noticed split-hoof tracks along the same path as the deer had traversed on Sunday. Vehicles had come and gone in the interim so I knew they were fresh footprints. Perhaps our Lady of the Valley also has her own ritual of meandering to the fountain for a drink, walking across the dirt road to the meadow, and then over to the creekbed and up the bank. I guess we all take comfort in routine. But I think in order to continue enjoying the regularity of our lives we have to vary things just often enough to spice it up a bit. So here’s to your own ‘Just another Sunday,’ on whatever day of the week or hour of the day it might fall.


Chi Varnado is a contributing writer for The San Diego Reader. Her memoir, A CANYON TRILOGY: Life Before, During and After the Cedar Fire and her children’s book, The Tale of Broken Tail are available on www.amazon.com. Chi directs the Ramona Dance Centre. Her collection of essays, Quail Mutterings, can be found on www.chivarnado.com.