June 5, 2000
Tres Paches Valley
I have never read Richard Llewellyn’s novel, How Green Was My Valley, but as I look down at Tres Paches Valley, I can imagine the similarity of the Welsh countryside pictured on the cover of the novel to that of my own.
A bassinet of indigenous vegetation ranging from the tender multi–leaf ferns found in the seasonal creek at the valley’s bottom to the handbrush bristles sticking straight–out from the outer limbs of the cedar trees that monopolize the hillsides in Tres Paches, emulates a living canvas. This remnant of a valley is a small indentation of earth remaining after five small hills were pushed up into the ancient skies by telluric tremblors many millennia past. I marvel each time my eyes, now slowly losing focus with the ticking of mother time, behold the many shades of green in this diminutive valley, as if only emerald hues were allowed in this kaleidoscope. I live atop the highest hill overlooking Tres Paches Valley—my backyard.
Depending upon the time of day or night, the varying angles of celestial rays give Tres Paches continuous light. The canopy of the valley’s trees resembles a handmade quilt my grandmother gave me. It had once been used to cover the soft, down–filled mattress placed delicately atop her large iron bed. The many leaf–like patches forming the quilt collage were varying shades of green—transparent lime jello unfolding to dark opaque mosses. Perhaps Mamá Grande intentionally wanted to be close to nature—sleeping while pretending to be in the Garden of Eden.
Live oaks, Spanish oaks, red oaks, mountain laurels, Mexican persimmons, hackberries, millions of cedars, and one cottonwood adorn the entire valley and sculpt the sides of the hills, hiding the many creatures which find refuge and respite there. A cacophony of musical trills, chirps, and whistles is emitted from the numerous species of birds heralding the Lord’s Day. This valley is their home also.
I sit here early this September morning, drinking a warm cup of freshly–ground Brazilian coffee, ironically the product of a now disappearing rain–forest, enjoying the cool breeze as autumn sends the first hints of her arrival. My wonderful backyard, Tres Paches Valley, is alive and well. I know that Huw Morgan, the protagonist in Llewellyn’s novel, would have treasured it, too!