2020—Miscreant

I have become a miscreant. I deliberately removed plant material from a county highway right of way, violating § 384a of the California Penal Code. Weeks of isolation as I shelter in place by myself have led to this.

The two things that have helped me maintain my sanity during the Stay-At-Home mandate are my morning walks and my daily self-assigned photography projects. But these two things led to my miscreance. Photographing flowers from my garden has become a favorite challenge. Finding flowers with interest is part of that challenge. Sunday morning as I walked, I pondered what flower would be my next subject. As I turned into mile two of my 4 mile walk, a spot of red caught my eye that I hadn’t noticed on previous days. It was bottlebrush blooming at the edge of the sidewalk in the area landscaped by the County. As I passed by, I began to think about that bottlebrush and how it would look on the black velvet background I have been using for this project. It would be perfect, I thought. As I approached the bushes again on my last lap, I slowed my pace and eyed the shrubs for the perfect flower. I looked over my shoulder to see if anyone was watching me. In a premeditated act, I snapped off one flower, then another, then a third. The adrenaline was pumping. My step quickened as I made my getaway from the scene of the crime, with still a mile to go before I would reach the safety of my home. And, in an act of absolute defiance, I did not try to hide the contraband. Rather, I carried the bouquet in my hand as I walked.

I didn’t choose a life of crime. I don’t plan to continue it. But I think the results were worth at least this one transgression.

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