On Friday I was teaching on the Peninsula in the morning, before heading up to Wilbur. There were banks of clouds massing low in the sky, moving steadily up from the south. Arriving a little early, I had the chance to be by the water for a few moments, watching these huge rolling layers.
During the session we went outside, and there was a sense of dampness – fifteen minutes later, after we were done, there was a downpour. I drove across the San Mateo Bridge afterwards, and the East Bay was still dry.
I headed north, over passes and along valleys, on somewhat familiar roads, enjoying the interplay of land and cloud, and how the shifting light revealing the majesty of the landscape. There were patches of blue sky, and later unbroken grey-purple clouds. Leaving Williams on the 20, as I approached the edge of the valley, the sun broke through and illuminated the ploughed fields and greening trees.
The rain continued all weekend; on Saturday morning, deep mists, shrouded hills, a morning of drizzle. Eventually the clouds broke to reveal a half moon as the light faded. On Sunday the early morning was wet; that abated for a while, and then set in for the rest of the day.
I was itching to run when I arrived, and was lucky that the rain petered out as I was unpacking, so I went up the smelter trail again, enjoying watching newts padding about, on the path, happily in their element. On Saturday I did not feel inspired to run; even though, between sittings, meals and bathing, I was being very productive, polishing the script for a series on Simple Habit that is due to appear in the new year, I noticed how much I still had the nagging feeling that I could be running instead. So on Sunday, when the rain had eased, I set off after breakfast, not sure about doing one of the bigger loops, but content to head up the valley, cross the creek and continue following the creek. Of course, once I was out and settled into my stride, I noticed the wish to push myself harder, but I didn’t want to go somewhere other than where I had told one of the staff I would be going. There was certainly not a soul to be seen until I got back to the fountain – at one stage I heard a noise on the hillside, and what I saw might have been a bobcat, since it was too big to be a rabbit and not tall enough to be a deer, but it was behind a tree, and ran quickly to hide, so I could not be sure. Otherwise, just as on the narrow unruly trails around Tassajara, I mainly focused on scanning the muddy and slippery path ahead for purchase, slipping and sliding some as I put each foot down.
I was also watchful and cautious on the drive home; not just on the muddy road in, but where the water pooled on the surface of highway 16. I had the wipers on full bore all the way, and the rain fell in darkening torrents.
Looking north to San Francisco on Friday morning.
The interplay of cloud and tree on the 505.
Further north on the 505
A burst of sun west of Williams on the 20.
The Bear Valley Road.
Misty hillside on Saturday morning.
Sunrise on Sunday morning.