A Walking Tour of
Courtesy, Donna Bailey
Angels is a small town that was for many years, more or less forgotten. Now it's pushing itself forward to the next century with all the speed that her old legs can muster. Old wooden buildings, some with false store fronts hide here and there presumably forgotten by time, the lettering on their sides fading in the sun.
Comfortable turn of the century houses with wide porches and tall trees at their stoop scatter over the hills as do the little ramshackle places, or so one would believe by their appearance. They dot the old forgotten crannies and crevices of the hillsides, which is the landscape of the town.
Streets wander here and there turning back on themselves, having long since been converted to one way. No more pack mule traffic able to go both ways.
Old, rusting gold mine machinery sit in the sun like ancient grandfathers losing a great deal of themselves each day to young children's blue jeans as they slide over them investigating and learning.
The rumble and roar of the huge stamp mill where tons of gold ore was taken out sits mute today with bird's nests woven through its tangled, rusted, steel cable hair.
There is the traditional little white church with steeple and tiny graveyard of our nobles who came before us at the top of the hill over looking the town. The stately big houses of the affluent of both time periods still stand straight and tall. They watch time curl about their foundations while the unsubstantial come and go upon the flanks of the hills.
We have snow now and then during the winter too. We catch just enough so everyone says "ahhhhh and oooooh" but not so much as to warrant %^&*^%.
Summer begins in June it's not bad until July when it gets hot. Gardens grow through your shoes if you don't keep moving, or so they say. The grass dries to a pale yellow and rustles in the dry hot wind. Stickers cling to your sox and pant legs when you walk and the drone of flies becomes permanent as August comes in with more of the same.
Stoic cattle stand under trees in the fields, dogs won't come out from under the porch and water coolers and A/C's hum on top of every house. Tar melts on the street and little kids wind it up on sticks then make hand prints and their initials before it cools. The ground is littered with Popsicle sticks around the school's and big shade trees. Kids sometimes are hard to find during the heat of the day, most of them are with the dogs under the porches, or at the swimming hole.
When it gets around to September the heat is still on but October is the next page on the calendar and anybody can wait one more page.
October the days drag by, one a little cooler than the other, then the Indian Summer days come, it's too hot again. Then it's in the air, you smell it, the sweet tangy smell of rain. Those big white thunderheads bump up over the Sierra's and the smell thickens. The wind comes whistling, whistling and dry crackling leaves fly with that wind and your nose keeps track and notes any change.
Then it comes, the rain begins to come down and wash everything clean. It splatters loudly doing its dance along the walks, it runs down the roofs and into the eaves. People laugh and don't mind a bit getting wet. Colors begin to brighten and then it goes just as quick, but it'll be back.
November air brings snap, the anticipation of pumpkin pies and frosty mornings. Crisp nights and warm quilts. Curling up, tucking down and the smell of wood smoke wafting in the night air.
The rest of the time it's windy. Getting colder, then warmer, and wetter, and then spring comes sneaking in again like a smooth green snake. Buds swell and burst, small flowers push up and then the bigger ones jump up. Hear the tillers and mowers start, the color is now sharp green and tangy yellow. Blue skies and green grass are here at last, and everywhere are roses and wild sweetpeas. Fields soon will wave with the tall stands of wild oats and Rye. The whole world is new again.
Thank you Donna for sharing your beautiful vision of Angels Camp with the world.
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