The Wind Blows Through The Empty Valley

Last week was by and large mercifully fog free in San Francisco, warm and with clear blue skies, reminding me of the best summer days in England – though England was then roasting in the kind of temperatures you expect to get in inland California. The fog came back in for Friday morning; this time I did have enough time to stretch my legs on my bike before going off to Wilbur. It was a round 100 when I arrived.

I was struck that afternoon by the stillness and quiet, and also my response to it, which was to feel very sleepy. Talking with Charlotte, one of the regular bodyworkers, she said it was the heat, but it was more, I think, that I find the heat so deeply relaxing.

Not so easy to sleep in the hot cabins though, even if the temperatures dropped overnight to allow a cool start to the day. Much as I don’t enjoy it, I ran first thing both mornings, as the colours on the golden hills started to reflect the orange skies to the east. On a flatter section heading up to the Medicine Wheel on Saturday morning, I had a sense of gliding, which was a nice delusion to have – it certainly didn’t feel that way the next morning as I lumbered from the cooler valley to the warmer hill tops crossing over to the Terraced Springs, my legs getting gently lacerated by star thistles which are running riot in the valleys.

On Saturday it topped out at 108; on Sunday it nudged a little closer to 110 – as someone observed, the only people to complain about the heat were those who had to work in it. I stuck to the shade, reading Shantideva and snoozing almost, despite good nights’ sleep. The guests were a very mellow bunch, and mostly quiet after the meditations. And when everyone left on Sunday, the wind picked up, as if signalling a change to come in the weather.

After the evening sits, with the sun down behind the hills, but still 90 degrees, I enjoyed lying on the stones of the pool deck which had absorbed all the heat of the day.

On Monday morning I got up early enough to sit in the tub under the stars, as the new moon rose over the hills, visible between the trunks of the pine, before I set off back to the city in the balmy early morning, meeting the fog as it rolled down from American Canyon.

DSCF8874

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DSCF8877Late afternoon sun on Sunday in the blazing heat.

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