The sound of my footsteps on the damp, finely manicured fairway is the only sound in the Arroyo this night. Like every other evening, darkness lays a blanket of silence over the course where just a few hours before the echoes of golfers celebrating birdies and bemoaning defeat were heard. I walk these stretches of long green turf, through the gauntlet of sculptured magnificent Oaks every night, and have since the beginning of time, or at least it seems.
I’ve walked these greens in the dead of winter when frost sparkles in the moonlight like millions of diamonds strewn across the ground and thick clouds from the West threaten to powder the foothills with an unexpected snow.
I’ve walked these greens in autumn as the Santa Ana’s blew their warm dry winds through the valley, coaxing the leaves of the great Oaks to quietly applaud my repertoire of lonely old ballads that I whistle as I stroll.
I’ve walked these greens on summer nights when dusk lasts forever and casts its shadows against Baldy’s reaching slopes, a picture that could only be suitably painted with verse or lyric.
I have walked these greens in spring. The sweet sights and sounds of new life are abundant then, as is the smell of nature; conjuring up memories of my childhood when winter coats are stowed away and short pants and t-shirts came out for play.
My nightly journey takes me past the grand rose crested arena built for battles between ferocious bears and brave mythical gladiators. The thunderous fanfare only serves to make the silence of the night more poignant when the great stadium has emptied and is quiet until the next battle is fought.
On my nightly journey I’ve been joined by owls with wings that span wider than I stand, by deer that cautiously accept me into their quiet homes, by gophers and snakes, raccoons and lions; all returning to me, their visitor, the kind respect that I offer to them.
I came here when my first was born and when my father passed; too vulnerable to cry, these greens took my tears.
This place is where I come to pray, without words or crosses or bended knee, for God is all around me here and I fret not His ear. He hears me, of that I’m sure.
I will walk these greens forever and more, just like the ones before. Every night you will find me here. For these are the greens I keep… and these are the greens that keep me.
© Copyright 2011 John Pagliassotti. All rights reserved.
John Pagliassotti born and raised in the San Gabriel Valley, and now lives in Newport Beach, California. He is married and has two sons in their teens. He works in the commercial real estate industry. One of his hobbies is writing short stories.