dreaming in the shadows of the Sleeping Maiden

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Mt. Tamalpais, December 28, 2012

Mt. Tam glimpsed by Peggy Butler from the Town Center in Corte Madera

From Peggy’s picture of Mt. Tam today, I gather that clouds flattened shadows and leached much of the color out of the landscape in Marin. I spent the better part of the day with my relatives, with a long break in the afternoon at a delightful spa … which is my excuse for today’s lax prose. That, and the delicious dinner with old friends….

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. Tamalpais, September 14, 2012

Mt. Tam glimpsed from the Larkspur-Corte Madera path

Four in the afternoon. Albeit a Friday afternoon. The path empty as far as the camera can see. The mountain dwarfed by so much absence. Many minutes go by before groups of people show up in clusters and then disappear again. Some whiz by on bikes. Others amble with leashed dogs that sniff around the bushes and rocks. Much later still, high school students out on a training run. One boy, with feet reluctant to leave the ground, brings up the line. He is out of breath and his eyes are fixed to the patch of path he covers with each belabored running step. And the mountain is behind him – far, far out of sight.

Mt. Tamalpais, September 6, 2012

Mt. Tam barely glimpsed in sun and shade and lace of leaves at the Corte Madera Town Center

I was about to wax poetic about the brilliant sunset and the gossamer mountain and the shape of the future, when our dog came back form the outside sprayed to the hilt with eau de skunk…. There is nothing that kills poetry faster than a quick mist from a skunk. Off to retch now. So much for today’s post then….

Mt. Tamalpais, August 27, 2012

Mt. Tam glimpsed from the Corte Madera Town Center at sunset

A long list of chores and the pressing needs of others ate most of my Monday in several big gulps. What is left now is the brain exhausted by the dullness of the mundane chores and the prickly worries over the needs of others, those needs that keep their own hours as they pursue their own agenda. That, and a set of tired, achy fingers that can barely type, but at least a mark has been made, even if it turned out be nothing more than just a scratch on the screen.

Besides, the idea that I could post a scintillating essay a day is ludicrous. As ludicrous as trying to contain a mountain in an image a day….

Mt. Tamalpais, August 24, 2012

Mt. Tam glimpsed from the Corte Madera/Larkspur bike path

What? Were you expecting another light-filled insight or some pretty poetry? Got nothing of that wordy sort today. Instead, my head is filled with cheap thrills … well, not so cheap, considering the price tag on the wheels that had me going after the buzz today.

With the folks in my household still asleep, long after the sun had come up and minced the fog into thin air, I set out on my trusty old hybrid bike for a meander. Eventually, my wheels took me to downtown San Anselmo, where I was going to stop for coffee, but instead stopped at 3 Ring Cycles, where I could not resist the offer to test ride a Bianchi Infinito. And so, for the next leg of my meanderings, I found myself rolling through Fairfax and then down (well, actually up at this stage) ever so lightly on Sir Francis Drake Blvd., headed for White’s Hill. And what a thrill to feel as if my legs have suddenly been infused with speed….

Some day, I hope to be hoisting such a light carbon bike atop the car, ready to go off further afield in search of new terrain. Until then, the memory of the easy ride will have to persist as much in my mind as in my legs. The ride back home from San Anselmo on my hybrid maybe wasn’t as thrilling as rolling fast on the red Bianchi, but it was still delightful enough to leave me deeply grateful for so many things, from the moments of health I am enjoying to the gorgeous and peaceful surroundings we here in Marin call home.

Mt. Tam glimpsed from Tamal Vista in Corte Madera

I biked to Fairfax earlier in the day. I took off from around Marin General Hospital in Greenbrae, so the ride was about 5 miles or so. In Fairfax, I stopped for a spot of lunch at the Humming Bird Café, which serves Cajun food and takes only cash for payment. I had a big bowl of gumbo, even though it was hot outside. I was hungry, and maybe not just for food.

Back on the road, I kept cycling, not wanting the ride to end. So I kept going, past where I parked the car across from Marin General Hospital. I pedaled unto Larkspur, then Corte Madera, then back to Larkspur, taking the side trip along the path that intersects Tamal Vista. At the end of the path where it meets Tamal Vista, there are great views to be had of Mt. Tam in just about any season or weather.

When I dismounted from the bike to take the picture, I was amazed to see how empty the path was all the way past the shelter of trees back in Larkspur. It was hot, sure, and it was the middle of the day,  but I’ve seen people out in much warmer weather and event a high noon.

I got back on my bike, and for a while, I seemed to be the only person in the world, a world that was suddenly filled with the shimmer of heat and the kaleidoscopic scents from wild fennel, hay with memories of grass, and that of jasmine  … or was that just an echo of my having listened to Summer Breeze blowing through the jasmine in the mind of Seals & Crofts back from 1972?

Mt. Tam glimpsed from the Town Center in Corte Madera

The breeze is gentle and has no quarrel with the afternoon’s heat. The mountain is clearly visible, even though there is a hint of haze weighing the air down. The day is neither gone, but nor is there enough left of it for fresh starts that could reinvent the day.

In the hour between chores I took myself off to the Town Center in Corte Madera. I should have biked there, but was planning on getting some books, which would have complicated riding my hybrid bike that has no pannier or any other of the gadgets that make commuter bikes so handy for such errands and explorations.

I wish I had the time to sit under that umbrella, near the potted lemon trees at Il Fornaio. Perhaps even sip a glass of red and munch on some olives, all the while scribble away on some important writing project, looking up only now and then to catch a sight of the mountain. Instead, I am hurrying back home to make sure I’ll have time to write the entry for today’s post….

Mt. Tam glimpsed by Celia Graterol while riding on the Larkspur bike path

Today’s view of the mountain is courtesy of Celia Graterol, who captured the peaks on a recent ride along the much-loved and very photogenic Larkspur bike path that links Corte Madera and Larkspur together, providing plenty of opportunities for pedestrians, bikers, skateboarders, and other amblers to get around some of Marin’s most picturesque neighborhoods without getting into a car.

I am writing this post, sitting at the dinner table with Celia and Sally Kuhlman slightly under the influence of the most aromatic roasted chicken mingled with that of sauteing Brussels sprouts, all this laced with the more delicate hint of roasted  potatoes, getting hungrier by the minute. Poncho, the dog, has already sampled some of the fare we are bout to share and he is breathing heavily in approval.

Mt. Tam glimpsed from the Village Shopping Center in Corte Madera

Yesterday shortly after dawn, I caught a glimpse of the mountain all aglow and smoldering in the first rays of the sun. This afternoon, in the glance I gave it from the Village Shopping Center in Corte Madera, it seemed smoky to me again. This time, though, gone was the shine of promises the likes of which spring up with the freshness of the morning sun. Instead, what I saw was the settled haze of the afternoon, the day nearly spent  … as was I from the drudgery of shopping.

I used to like shopping. Years ago, when I weighed considerably more and finding clothes in regular stores was quite the challenge, I carried on until I carried home the bags filled with stuff. Nowadays, a lot more clothes fit me … which makes it just as challenging when it comes to making a decision what to buy, especially when I really don’t want to fill the bags, because I also don’t want to empty my wallet.

Is it any wonder than that my focus today is the haze?