dreaming in the shadows of the Sleeping Maiden

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Mt. Tamalpais, October 1, 2012

Mt. Tam glimpsed from San Anselmo

Whew… 100 degrees. It’s October. A normal October for a change. We here in our corner of the world don’t believe in sticking to the established order of seasons. We like our summers served up with a generous side of fog. Our winter sprinkled with days of record-breaking heat spells. Our rains, torrential. Our floods, flashing with all the might of a moment. And our heat … ah, that we like served up in excess as a generous afterthought to summer.

I’ve been flopping from one couch to another today in the heat. In between, I’ve spent a little time obsessing over the spreading rings of fire on my arm in the wake of what the doctor’s assistant thinks is a spider bite. I hope she’s right. I hope it’s not leftover baggage from a tick. I wouldn’t know the aches and pains of Lyme disease, given how I’ve had aches an pains galore from other conditions over the years.

Driving through San Anselmo tonight I flashed back to very old memories. A cornfield by the Black Sea But is it really a memory? Are there cornfields by the sea? Or has the time and distance erased miles and years between a field and a shore? Does it even matter? After all, memories are constructions, and this one, the cornfield in the moonlight by the shores of the Black Sea, fits nicely in the over-heated space of this October night. That it also calls to mind Ovid, perhaps despondent as he paces along that same shore, though without the cornfields, where he was exiled, exiles the memory to, in a way, into the hinterlands of the imagination.

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. Tamalpais, August 11, 2012

Mt. Tam glimpsed from the bike path by Bon Air Bridge, Greenbrae

We agreed to meet around 8:30 am in Greenbrae by the Bon Air Bridge, from where we would bike to San Anselmo to yoga class. The “we” is the same crew, two friends and I, who assembled to ride from Larkspur to Mill Valley for a spot of lunch last Saturday.

Last Saturday was almost winter, what with the thick fog and mist and cold winds we’ve had. Not so this morning. Brilliant sunshine, with promises of plenty heat, but at this hour a slight and invigorating chill still hanging around from the night, and a sense of calm all over the roads, with light traffic. But it seems to me that the picture above probably is more eloquent about the state of light and calm than what I came up with so far….

Though I’ve been riding for a few months now, I have to confess that I haven’t been out on the roads this “early.” Some of my calmer rides have been just before sunset and right after rush hour traffic died off. To catch a taste of a morning ride, even if this late, gave me an appetite for more … and I will have more, next Saturday, when I am riding part of the Holstein 100 in Petaluma.

We rode along the water, then through Ross, to Turtle Island Yoga, a studio with a long tradition around these parts. This was my first yoga class in two years, probably, but just like they say about riding the bicycle, the poses all came back to me.

After our class, we rode to Fairfax, to Good Earth, for a bite to eat, and then from there, one friend and I headed into uncharted territory, so to speak. Neither of us had ridden past Fairfax before, so as we started to climb along Bolinas Avenue we kept checking in with each other: “do you want to turn around?” I didn’t mind the climb, but kept eyeing the other cyclists practically flying down and around the curves that somehow looked steeper to me going down than I was experiencing them going up.

After what seemed like an eternity, but was probably only a couple of minutes (if that) of climbing, we did turn around. With my heart in my teeth, but hands instructed to stay loose enough to lose the death grip on the handles, down I went and around the corners I flew. And when a couple cars passed me, I didn’t get tempted to hit the brakes; I just went with the flow that carried me already.

So now tired from the ride and stretched from yoga, and slightly blunted by the rising heat of the day, I am luxuriating in the lack of anxiety over writing the perfect post. The Muse Bank, the one I wanted to make a run on yesterday when I felt tongue-tied, is closed? Well, who cares! Not every day has to be wordy to be worthy.

Mt. Tamalpais, July 24, 2012

Mt. Tam glimpsed from San Anselmo Ave. in San Anselmo

Around lunchtime, I went over to 3 Ring Cycles in San Anselmo to get some help with fixing my spin/biking shoes. As always, Brad and Lindsay, the owners, were there and working hard, keeping this local hub for cyclists not only well stocked with goods, but also lively with plenty of advice and encouragement for cyclists of all ages and abilities.

After I spent some time talking with them, I walked around San Anselmo, considering stopping for lunch, but my appetite wasn’t quite ready for a meal. I sat down on one of the many benches along San Anselmo Avenue, soaking up some sunshine after these wild days of wind we’ve been having lately. For a while, I watched a good number of cyclists ride by. Many of them, mostly those in the middle-aged male category, seemed to be wearing yellow jerseys and going a little faster than I would deem safe along the avenue. But maybe I was just imagining this, not surprisingly in the wake of Bradley Wiggins’ win of the Tour de France.

Just as I was getting back into my car, I noticed the peaks of Mt. Tam playing peek-a-boo over the roofline of the San Anselmo Town Hall. And it’s a good thing I did, because otherwise there would be no new angle from which to view it today. I am settled in for the rest of the day and night, trying to catch up on some rest.

Mt. Tam glimpsed from the Larkspur Ferry Terminal, Larkspur

Today is a cleaver of sorts, one that splits the year in half, or, if you consider the other meaning of this word, it is also a day that holds the two halves of the year together. Today also marks the halfway point in this project I took on to post a picture a day of Mt. Tam on this blog. I should have posted in the middle of the day to keep to things half done, but at that point, I was out riding my bike mostly at the edge of where water and land meet.

It would have been great to mark the day with a spectacular picture of the mountain, but as I rode by the Larkspur Ferry Terminal and caught a glimpse of Mt. Tam halved by the office building atop Wood Island in Larkspur, it occurred to me that the halves and halved areas in this picture are just what is called for the occasion.

Besides, the second half of the day had me going to San Anselmo to celebrate at the fabulous Half 2012 Gratitude Par-tay that @tamholland of Bean Up the Nose Art hosted to mark not only the half of this year, but also to help remind us of what may be some of the things in life we would like to have more of in the next six months, as well as of those that we would like to see a lot less cluttering our days.

True to the theme of the party and the day, half the crowd spilled unto the street to take advantage of the breeze that took endless joy rides through the cul-de-sac. Some of us hung around until the sun almost set, as if making sure we had a light and festive footing for the second half of the year.

Mt. Tam glimpsed from the car in motion through San Anselmo

Obviously, I wasn’t driving when I took this shot… I was a very preoccupied passenger in it, thinking about my grocery lists. Which means that the mountain, though glorious in sunshine and becalmed winds, was nearly an invisible presence in my day.

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 covered with clouds - glimpsed from San Anselmo

The clouds clung to the peaks of Mt. Tam today, even as the skies opened to reveal expanding patches of blue. Then again, this bulk of constant little doom overhead is what happens to the vista when one insists on staying put on the north-side of the ridge.

Mt. Tam glimpsed in the distance from the intersection of Bolinas & Waverly near the San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo

This January morning, once again, the sun seemed brighter than possible. Mt. Tam almost glowed with so much light, but since I spent the better part of the day in a car, driving a route that was not of my mapping, the opportunities to take pictures grew remote. With the small windows of time I had, I went chasing after the familiar profile of the ridge, but it came as a big surprise to discover that through many parts of Fairfax, San Anselmo, and San Rafael rare is a glimpse of it – even through the bare-branched trees. I finally caught a sight of the peaks on one of my errands as I drove past the San Francisco Theological Seminary. I parked the car in what seemed like the center of a ghost town, it was so deserted, and took my shot, smudged by the lens flare. But it will have to do, since it reflects a day in someone’s life (in this case, mine) in the shadow of the mountain.


Physical earth reveals itself as persons.

That’s what a body is an
….. opportunity, hills dismantled geologically, shifting into
….. twiceness now, its wishes hearing–

a landscape full of an original
chaos but not in itself divine.

-from “The Shirley Poem,” by Brenda Hillman