It was a quirk of the calendar that I ended up back at Wilbur just two weekends after my last visit. Spring seemed to have hardly moved along at all up there, though the road was now muddy and slippery in several places after the rain through the week. Driving up on Friday I had managed to stay ahead of some of the showers, and much of the heavy traffic – driving towards a rainbow on Highway 80 in the East Bay, and catching the first of the redbuds at the Rumsey end of Cache Creek Canyon just as the heaviest of the downpours hit in the late afternoon.
Saturday was another day of rain and clouds, but Sunday saw a hard frost and clear skies that made it just warm enough to lie out on the deck in the middle of the day. I had reasonable numbers for the sitting including, not for the first time, someone who had sat with me on a previous visit, as well as at least one person who was sitting for the very first time.
As part of the vicarious marathon training, I accompanied my friend on a twelve-mile run on Saturday. The simplest thing seemed to be to run down to the road bridge a mile from the springs, and take a left turn up Bear Valley Road, which seems on the map to continue north indefinitely. I had run a mile or so up it once before, but this time I was in uncharted territory.
After a little rise a couple more miles along, suddenly the valley opened up in front of us, long straight, with beautiful tones of grasses, hills and low clouds. We ran two more miles of a long straight, then the road turned ninety degrees to the left and crossed the valley and the creek to the other side. Where the ninety-degree turn to the right took the road north again, we turned for home, battling weary legs and a slight headwind, happy to be back after a couple of hours work-out to eat and soak. I was a little stiff for my next sitting…
On Monday morning it was 24 degrees as the sun came up and I prepared to leave. I poured hot water on the windows of the car I was borrowing, to melt the ice, something I don’t remember doing since I was a kid in England. One upside was that the mud on the road was frozen solid. Having dropped off the car a couple of hours later, I retrieved my bicycle to get to BART, across the bay, to the Bicycle Coalition to borrow one of their trailers (a perk for members), back home, where I loaded up eight zafu and four goza mats, and rode over to the Embarcadero to set up for the lunch-time sitting.
In the end, no-one joined me this week; this was my first time alone on the cushions, but I have been doing this long enough that I was far from feeling self-conscious. The hour seemed to pass more quickly and more comfortably than often happens. California being as it is, it was warm enough in the city to sit with short sleeves.
Early morning rabbit in front of the red house at Wilbur.
Hard frost on the Bear Valley Road on Monday morning.