It would be an exaggeration to say that I was woken up on Christmas morning by coyotes howling on the hillsides around Wilbur at first light; I had already been awake for a couple of hours and had my breakfast. Still, the noise was not one I had ever heard before, nor one I associated with Christmas, and I took one of the free bikes and rode up toward the parking lot to see if I could see any of them, but in vain.
I have happy memories of childhood Christmases with my family, but since I am several thousand miles away from them these days, and have not been back in England for Christmas since 2005, I don’t really go for festivities so much any more. And much as I love the traditional carols (I invoked In The Bleak Midwinter during one of my little talks, since the bright, slightly chilly days of the weekend in the part of California we were in are a far cry from the colder, darker days of my upbringing), I am always happy to avoid the constant piping of festive music in the run-up to the 25th. Spending the season at Tassajara was always a great way to do that, and I was also reminiscing about a trip I took to Zanzibar in December twenty years ago, where the only carols I heard were at the airport in Doha, which seemed entirely incongruous.
Wilbur was a good place for that too; signs of the holidays were few and far between. There was plenty of good cheer, though that is almost always the case up there.
I was happy to have the chance, once again, to get out of the city, and start my quiet last week of the year with some sitting, some soaking, and some running.
The main building at Wilbur at first light on the 25th.
I didn’t take too many other pictures, but here are a couple of the creek – and a tributary – further up the valley.