Ghost of Hippies Past

Summer in Northern California, where diversity reigns supreme: nature-loving spiritualists practice free-form yoga or howling at the moon in the coastal open space adjacent to our home. So, at 7 a.m. one Saturday morning, when the marine mists carried the distant sounds of what was undoubtedly circular-breathing Mongolian throat-singing accompanied by the clanging of bells, I knew some Sunyatsen-style flowing-robed hippies were trekking up our hills to purge their inner demons at our auditory expense. Indeed, it was a cacophonous collision of guttural vocals and ill-measured bell ringing only achievable by uptight, rhythm-less, frustrated Caucasians, or… could it be? As they drew closer, I could hear the bleating more clearly and recalled that these were the goats sent to clear our hills… or were they? In my dream state, I remembered how, in Japanese tales, animals are often reincarnated ancestors whose former forms can be perceived most clearly through the mist.