This is part of an abandoned building, a house, I believe. It sits just west of the Castoro Winery vineyards on California Highway 46 West. I have driven by it for decades, but I’ve never been able to learn its story or why it’s been left to crumble. The windows are gone, as are most of the doors. Some walls are completely gone. It would be dangerous to enter the building. I walked all the way around it to take photos and was shocked to see how little I’d been able to notice as I drove by it.
At one time it must have been someone’s home, full of people and life. Perhaps an earthquake destroyed it. I’ll never know. What I do know is that it is now not fit for human habitation. It is no longer suitable for its intended purpose. If you look inside the missing doors and windows it’s hard to imagine people sitting inside at the dinner table or cooking a meal.
Way back when, someone planted the almond tree. It, too, is old. I imagine any fruit it may still bear goes to the birds. It appears the deer have also stripped some of its bark away. Yet it still lives, even as it deteriorates. As spring approaches, it still blooms. I saw a bee pollinating one of the blossoms. If a freeze doesn’t kill the blossoms, the tree may yet produce its almonds.
It is still a living thing, striving to do what it was meant to do, even though there is no longer a farmer to appreciate or care for it. But the bees and the deer appreciate it. When the almonds finally appear, the tree will be alive with birds and squirrels wanting to reap its scant harvest. Though it is old, it still keeps fulfilling its purpose.
I hope I will do the same now that I am old. I want to be the tree — not the house. I want to keep being useful to someone even as I deteriorate.
Words and photo © B. Radisavljevic