Mt. Tam glimpsed from that path along Corte Madera Creek, Greenbrae
Sure, it would have been absolutely lovely to have that perfect photo of Mt. Tam to show on the last day of this project. But that only happens in the albums of a mind framed by the hard wood of perfectionism. Not that I didn’t spend a good part of the day taking pictures from the time the sun came up until now. In fact, I had taken more photos today than probably all the days of some months in the last year.
There were some richly green pictures of the slopes from this morning, but in the end, I chose one of the last-minute pictures I took on my bike ride along the Corte Madera Creek. I haven’t been on the bike for weeks and by the time I got out there, the sun was slipping fast behind the ridges and the clouds were gathering near the peaks, flattening the light. Still, even with the lesser greens and poorer light, I chose this picture as the last one because of the boat hauled unto the dock in it. After all, it’s the end of the journey in a year of daily photos of the mountain. The mountain will still be there, always in plain view, even in that of mine … that is, for as long as I live in this region.
Mt. Tam will keep on posing for others who are much better at capturing her profile in the changing light of the seasons and of the days. For my camera, for now, she’s saying good night … and so am I….
Mt. Tam glimpsed at sunset
I took that picture of Mt. Tam around 4 o’clock this afternoon. The sun was in a mighty hurry to slip behind the peak, trailing a smoky ray that got caught between the slopes of ridges. Seems the sun also took with it what little energy I had left for writing, including the last of some leftover prose that might have done the trick for today’s post.
So here I am, somewhat empty-headed when it comes to words, just standing around, marking the day … just another day of a year of Mt. Tamalpais from where I stand.
Mt. Tam glimpsed just before sunset
The day lost to a stuffy head, a sore throat, a queasy stomach, and a few achy teeth. Apparently it was another gorgeous day to be had out there in the string of glorious days that have graced our corner of the world, a world in which otherwise there is so much weather wreaking havoc. It would have been great to take out the Bianchi on a fire road for its maiden ride in dirt and dust. Pretty as she is, even with the “sexy” Celeste blue handlebar tape (as one reviewer saw it), I think she’ll be happy to be spun around in places where the stylishly knobby tires can finally get a grip on themselves in their element….
But it was just as good to catch up with the long trail of neglected emails, as well as reading a good chunk of last weekend’s The New York Times, the actual paper version, while sipping cup after cup of tea with lemon from my tree and honey from the wildflowers of Marin. And to drop off and snooze a little in between reading and writing. And to wake up just in time to catch the last rays of the sun illuminating the ridges of the mountain that is now beckoning to me in new ways … or should I say with new trails?
Mt. Tam glimpsed at sunset
A deep sense of exhaustion dissolved most of the thoughts and words I had in mind for lining up for today’s post. But it’s just as well that I don’t’ carry on, adding more noise to the signal that came through loud and clear yesterday. This exhaustion feels like a luxurious soak in a hot bath. It’s a release of months’ worth of tensions that have built up to fortify the psyche against the onslaught of the medieval weaponry hurled at women by the fringe elements of the Republicans, along with their other medieval ideas of the way forward into a new dark ages not just for women, by the way.
Last night, many women in my Twitter stream expressed the same kind of sense of physical release once the election results came in, as if we had just realized how hard we had been holding our breath this year. A collective sigh of relief, with some of my younger friends publicly announcing the unclenching of more than just their lungs.
The weather here is about to turn rainy for a few days, but not before the mountain, the Sleeping Maiden herself, offers to mirror a relaxed pose as she basks in the clarity of the day’s last rays under a sky so swiftly cleared of haze.
Mt. Tam glimpsed at sunset
… and the mountain seems to be settling in for the night, perhaps a little slow at turning out its bedside lamp and drawing the cover of clouds over herself a little tighter as she readies herself for rain tomorrow …
It’s day 298, I believe, but yesterday’s post was my 300th, because of the two posts announcing the project back before the year started. In honor of the 300th post, I am featuring three photos today, taken pretty much from the same position, but at different times of the day.
Mt Tam, impossible to glimpse in fog, clouds and mists of morning
Mt. Tam becoming visible in dissipating clouds at noon
Mt. Tam glimpsed fully just before nightfall
Mt. Tam in a blur, as if caught in the spider’s web
The sun returned this morning, refreshed from its sojourn behind the cloudy skies of yesterday and eager to flex its illuminative muscles that brought back color to the landscape. As much as I would have liked to explore the rivulets of fall color in foliage in our corner of the world, I could not. I had signed up to volunteer with the Biketoberfest fundraiser of the Marin County Bicycle Coalition, and this had me as part of a crew in the information booth for the better part of the day. Once I was done with my stint, I headed over to the beer tasting tents, just as the sun was showering the late afternoon haze with gold dust. After I tasted a couple of beers, I found myself in another golden haze, one that had nothing to do with the sun, well, except in so far as the sun contributed to the gilding of hops or oats or wheat that went into the making of the tasty brews.
All this is my way of saying that today’s post is hardly more substantial than the foam in a freshly poured glass of beer. That I managed to remember to take a picture of the mountain is a small miracle. That the mountain is in a blur is clearly not an accident….
Mt. Tam glimpsed near the sunset hour
Some days the idea of writing even as much (I mean as little), as a sentence composed of a noun and a verb draws a blank. Or, to be more accurate, it is my mind that is the vast empty field in which any word bold enough to poke through meets an immediate withering end in the chill of the snows of blankness.
Had I not made the commitment to post here every day for a year, the world would have been spared a sentence like the one I just wrote in the previous paragraph. Discipline maybe good for the soul and for character, but it doesn’t always serve the arts well…. And with that, I think I’ll stop here and settle into the comforts of a long dark night to wait for the chill to thaw, maybe in tomorrow’s sun, which, when it will rise from the other side, should bring the slopes into sharp relief.
Mt. Tam glimpsed as reflections, Altura Way, Greenbrae
And so September takes its leave. Tomorrow a new week and a new month. The hottest day we never had all summer is still yet to come — apparently tomorrow. The cicadas are working overtime, striking up the cacophonous choral, eager to usher in warm nights, even if the heat will wane with the setting sun.
Mt. Tam glimpsed at sunset
I was out riding again. No particular route in mind. I would take stretches of bike paths and roads for a while, heading in one direction, only to change my mind, suddenly, as if the wind had whispered an exciting secret in my ear making me privy to some happening in another direction. And off I’d go in a new direction. Normally, on the weekend I have a riding buddy, but I was out there alone today. I have no preference as such about riding with friends or alone. Each way it’s a great experience. When I am with my riding buddies, I feel safer and also a little more adventurous, not to mention slightly competitive. When I ride alone, I come closest to a state of meditation, if meditation is about being in the moment. There is no way that I can describe what being in moment is like on the bike and do it full justice, but I can easily say that all sorts of things disappear from my normally turbulent stream of thought: time (past and future), worries, people, agendas, theories, “to do” lists, regrets, hopes…. What remains is a steadily flowing stream of smells, sights, and, above all, an alertness to everything that could endanger or impede the flow of these smells, sights, and yes, even the alertness itself.
I rode for some 25 miles this afternoon, with a brief stop for food and drink. I bracketed the ride with attempts to climb two hills that have scared me enough to turn that meditative state into, well, handlebar-gripping terror at descents and, of course, out-of-breath struggles on the ascents. One is Camino Alto, which connects Corte Madera with Mill Valley. The other is the Fairfax-Bolinas Road. I managed to climb a little higher on these hills today. Not very far from the start, mind you, but still, I was on my way. And I also managed to ride down a little faster, with my hands finally joining the hands of the inner child whose delight in biking, skiing, and skating like a fiend knew no bounds when I was still her age.