The age of reason

Bruce took a week off from venting all over his keyboard. This is an oldie.

Number one: The sleekness of the boat glides through the Lake. The light is fading on the Friday evening, but there is still enough to easily see down to the bottom, through 40 feet of water. Yes, the Lake is clouding at a rate of one foot a year, but it’s still an utterly remarkable place. The boat’s engine glugs along at an easy chug, heading toward the dock of a swank little cafe on the Lake’s western shore.

The stern, pushing breeze that had been dominating the Lake for the last six hours backs off, and the west shore of Tahoe is, at this moment, one of the great places to be in this galaxy. Our quartet nurses drinks, makes small talk and gazes eastward, awaiting the show. Shortly after sunset, a glow from the east, and then a thin sliver of lunar silver. The moon surfaces, and does so like it knows what it’s doing. Even veteran moonrise fans are impressed.

Number two: Saturday at dusk, the day of the summer solstice. This bluff overlooking The Other Big Lake is, as always, empty. It’s warm and windy, the time of shadows and color, all changing slightly every minute. The crazed waterfall up the canyon about a quarter mile shoots its stream over the cliff every second, gushing with peak runoff force. The bright yellow blazing star, one of the top five beautiful wildflowers of the North American desert, is here, and several plants bloom and climax. A seagull spots the family-sized sub sandwich being passed among our party, and immediately contacts Seagull Central Headquarters, which instantly sends out a squadron of mindless gull drones in search of human handouts. Pelicans fly past our beach spot in their usual manner, skimming across the water about six inches above the waterline, wingtips never once flicking the surface.

Number three: Halfway up the main road to the top of Peavine, there is a thick, beautiful stand of Curlleaf Cercocarpus, commonly called mountain mahogany. I suspect that somewhere in this grove, overlooking Reno, there’s an excellent little sheltered spot that will prove to be a killer place to take a Sunday nap. Armed with my comforter and a nice, boring book, I find out I’m right. No match for the lullaby of wind, leaves, and cicadas, I’m knocked out in seconds, sawing horrifying, troll-like Zs with thorough satisfaction.

There they are. Three of the most common reasons why people say they love living here, and none of them have anything to do with Reno.