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dreaming in the shadows of the Sleeping Maiden

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Mt. Tam with light shadows cast on its slopes

This morning the skies were nearly clear. Only the long shadows over the slopes of Mt. Tam gave hints of darker skies to come. By the time I got around to post this, raindrops misted the windows. It remains to be seen if the landscape will be washed out by the small onslaught of rain that has been promised by those in the know of weather.

Mt. Tam glimpsed from San Anselmo (and its image captured with the cell phone camera)

A dear friend’s birthday and an anniversary have me on the road today. The mountain is a backdrop, changing with the shifting spotlight filtered by clouds that gather and then disperse.

Mt. Tam glimpsed in the setting sun

I was on the other side of that ridge today, hiking. I had spectacular views of San Francisco, of hills and ridges, and the silvery ocean. None of those I can post here, since this project is a picture a day of Mt. Tam, not from Mt. Tam….

Mt. Tam glimpsed from the Town Center in Corte Madera

It was nearly 80 degrees again today – at least according to the gauge in my car. It was also almost unbearably bright outside. The mountain glowed from just about every angle. Hard to believe we are in Northern California. Hard to believe it’s February. So many things are becoming hard to believe these days….

Mt. Tam glimpsed from Bon Air Road, Greenbrae

We are having spells of summer in Marin. Seems that February has been thoroughly summerized for this leap year. With lighter traffic all over, thanks to schools out for ski week, today almost felt like a typical day in August, when Marin seems emptied of people, cooled by morning fog, and heated to perfection by the fog-delayed sun. But I found a much better description of the ambiance of days like this one from the witty pen of  Anne Lamott in her latest column in Sunset magazine:

Northern California spring is not a nice orderly progression that you can recognize from any other part of your life. It’s a kaleidoscope. On almost any day, it can be almost any season. Hot, warm, very cold, rainy, then gray, then blue….Don’t get me wrong — there are aspects of spring that I do not like. Deer ticks, for instance, and everywhere you look, couples falling in love, and the air is saturated with the scent of giddiness and doom.

“March Madness,” by Anne Lamott Sunset, March 2012

Lamott nailed it for me with that “scent of giddiness and doom.” The heady onslaught of blossoms and the sense of a season missing as an omen for losses to come. Yep, “giddiness and doom” will do nicely to describe a day like this one.

Mt. Tam glimpsed near the end of sunset

Even as light fades and night seeps in, the eyes hold steady the landscape now redrawn by the constellation of streetlights and the haphazard quilt of lit-up windows. But the camera takes its cue from the hand, which has its own map of a world in motion – a world where light is the wave you hope to catch and hang on to for a ride that touches neither the gritty shore nor the formidable undertow….

Mt. Tam glimpsed from Marin Country Mart, Larkspur

There was a hint of winter in the air in the morning, but it didn’t last. Soon enough the sun came out and everywhere I walked, there was the scent of blossoms rushing to fill the air with sweet notes ahead of their proper season. All of which made me even more nostalgic for winter. Maybe not so much for the whimsy of wind and the lashing rain, or the odd dusting of snow on the peaks of Mt. Tam, but for the predictable rhythms that used to underscore our lives when the seasons played quartets.