dreaming in the shadows of the Sleeping Maiden

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Mt. Tamalpais, November 30, 2012

Mt. Tam still unglimsable, even with a break in the storm, along the Corte Madera Creek in Kentfield

A potted plant, a big one, fell over in the garden in the middle of the night. The winds must have snared the spindly branches of the laurel that has been calling the pot home for years, turning it over to play a bit of soccer with it, before shoving the whole deal down some steps, shattering the pot into many pieces. Other than that, all looks intact in the garden and with the roof, if a little worse for wear from a stormy night.

Midday I was out and about. Went to see my cardiologist, just to check in to make sure that if nothing else, at least my cardiovascular system is set to train for an endurance bike ride down the road. Turns out that my cardiologist is also an avid cyclist. He gave me the all clear and set my mind at ease about some of those high heart rate readings I’ve been getting climbing hills on the new bike.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that I should take to my new training plans as this storm is taking to our little corner of the world…. Oddly enough, thanks to the fierce winds and the downpours I am forced to sit still, to savor the recovery from the last couple of weeks of overdoing it as I was trying to find that (to me) elusive golden mean. Much like I had to learn to go with that one picture of Mt. Tam every day here, regardless what I thought of it, whether the image was good enough or true enough or impressive enough, well, I am going to have to learn to train for an athletic performance not as a dress rehearsal every time, but as a simple and already fully contained step day in and day out. A step on a journey, and not necessarily on the one and only road to the finish line…. In other words, just for the sheer joy of it.

Mt. Tamalpais, November 29, 2012

Mt. Tam, invisible behind wind-driven clouds

All is in motion out there. Leaves torn from trees by the sudden gusts soar and plunge through the air, all the while they trace the patterns of a helter-skelter arabesque. Bared branches wave and bow. Those too close to each other butt their crowned heads, shaking out leaves and the odd birds. The crows, though, are nowhere to be seen and they are screechless, letting the wind whistle its one-toned melody.  The clouds, windborne as they are, throng and mass on the horizon. It’s a storm that’s not quite steady on its wind-webbed feet, as if it were still just warming up for that riotous run into a long night.

Mt. Tamalpais, November 28, 2012

Mt. Tam seemingly impossible to glimpse on a stormy day

The storm arrived under the cover of night. Windows rattled, though hardly with even a hint of menace. Rain hit the pane, but it was a steady knock, if not exactly polite. Or an almost mindless tapping to the crescendo of a staid sonata. When morning came, the world was subdued in variations on grey and Mt. Tam swaddled in folds of thick clouds. The rain would pick up suddenly, and then just as suddenly let up.

Still, in between the rain-driven music and the wind-swept folds of dark clouds, patches of blue sky appeared. Yes, as Leonard Cohen has said already, “There is a crack in everything/That’s how the light gets in…”

Mt. Tamalpais, November 27, 2012

Mt. Tam glimpsed through gathering clouds

Apparently there is a series of storms lined up, ready to dump some 7 inches of rain on us in the next few days. It supposed to start full up tomorrow, so today was one of those transitional patterns in which we get treated to a bit of everything, from sudden gusts of cold wind to glorious sunshine, to clouds laced with that ominous tinge and blue skies in between.

I went out for a bike ride, back and forth on the same old bike path along the Corte Madera Creek and past the Larkspur Ferry Terminal, trying to figure out how to do interval training. It wasn’t a boring ride visually, thanks to the changing weather every few hundred feet or so. I covered the same 4-mile loop nearly five times, so I got some decent mileage, while taking in the same scenery as if painted by different artists who have their own ideas abut the power of light to bring the best of landscape into sharp relief. Since I am to post only a single picture a day, I chose none of the ones I captured of Mt. Tam along the ride. I’ll leave that gallery to your imaginations….

Mt. Tamalpais, November 26, 2012

Mt. Tam glimpsed through morning fog

Monday is delivered to us wrapped in thick layers of fog. The morning sun across the ridge pulls back the layers, one at a time, ever so slowly, as if to taunt us with notions that clarity may be overrated….

Mt. Tamalpais, November 25, 2012

Mt. Tam glimpsed from US 101 near Richardson Bay

The Thanksgiving weekend is winding down, but not my sense of gratitude for all the bounty of days lately. So much to be thankful for, from family to health to living in a beautiful place like the San Francisco Bay Area. Any of it or all of it could change in an instant, but right now, it’s all here, it’s all palpable. And right here is all that we can have, after all.

We left our home early in the dark of a foggy predawn. Drove through nearly empty freeways and dropped off one son at the airport, where long lines were forming already and traffic was backing up as if it had been rush hour. From the airport we headed south to Woodside, where I joined two other intrepid Velo Girls for a “melo” ride along Cañada Road in plenty more mist and thicker fog, though in full daylight. It was my first bike ride in such conditions, conditions that in general would have had me in bed reading and sipping coffee and waiting for the sun to coax me outside only after the last of the thinnest veils of mist had lifted. I must really like riding the bike because it made no difference to me that my glasses turned into a sieve of condensation through which only bits and pieces of the landscape managed to fall through my eyes or that my fingers were almost too icy to feel the brakes or that my feet were chilling even as I pedaled faster. I just kept going, and in fact, the moisture in the air made breathing that much easier, or so it seemed at the time.

After my ride it was time to hurry back to Marin and head out to Inverness and Pt. Reyes with my friend Toni for the last day of Open Studios, where my friend Cate Olds had some spectacular paintings on show, all of them hinting at the poverty of maps charting the true territory.

And now it’s night and I am exhausted and short on words, but still very long on gratitude.

Mt. Tamalpais, November 24, 2012

Mt. Tam glimpsed on yet another glorious November day

Not much good can come of expecting the full embrace of summer in the middle of fall. So what if the sun is shining and if the better part of the landscape is still as green as if summer had coaxed it into being? If you are the sort who gets fooled by shiny things, like the heavenly light of the sun, it’s not surprising that you will find yourself chilled near to the bone as you stand there in the bright circle of sunlight, waiting for your heart to ignite. That sun, bright and shiny as it may look, has already shifted its kindling angle to other lands many moons ago.

Mt. Tamalpais, November 23, 2012

Mt. Tam glimpsed in passing through Corte Madera

Another incredibly light-filled day, courtesy of sunshine and balmy temperatures. The mountain turning up here and there, but mostly in passing and through windows. Lots of things in passing today. It’s a day in motion, motioned in ever way. Pulled here and there, between the buildup to Thanksgiving and the letdown in the wake, I am now too scattered for a coherent narrative, however short that might have to be. Then again, the idea was to post a picture a day, with a few words, and not with a full analysis of my mental or emotional state drafted over the ever-accommodating slopes of Mt. Tam.

A quiet moment in the house, with the boys out. Just the whirr of the washer and the choppy barks of a dog from a ridge afar to chip away at the silence that is thickening  with the fall of night. The perfect conditions seem to be in place for the muse to drop by, but she’s off somewhere, perhaps still hanging out with her family at an Olympian Thanksgiving. Pity her, because with a mother like Mnemosyne, at that table in the nightless heavens, no incident, however trivial, can fall into the blessedly refreshing void of forgetfulness. It’s a long, long night for the muse at the divine homecoming. She’s propped at the table and has no choice for now, but to watch as the past keeps coming up with every dish that’s served cold or hot, sour or sweet, paltry or rich….

Mt. Tamalpasi, Vovember 22, 2012

Mt. Tam glimpsed in full sun at Thanksgiving morning

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers here.

So many things to be thankful for… but above all, I am thankful for being able to be here at this moment, in glorious and peaceful fall sunshine, in warmth and in comfort, with family around, so that I can be thankful. And now on to spend the rest of the day with the aforementioned family….

Mt. Tamalpais, November 21, 2012

Mt. Tam glimpsed with leftover clouds from a rainy night

The sun was back on the job today, with promises of even more light to come in the next few days. I love this variation in weather in which it rains for a day, even if heavily at times, then the sun comes forth for days on end, teasing even more color out of the few trees with leaves that turn with the seasons amid the sea of green that glows that much brighter after the first few rainy days of fall here in California.