Wednesday, December 21, 2011
A late night phone call revealed that my brother is back in the hospital again. Turns out his procedure did not go as planned and he had to go back in for more tests and xrays. This put me in a downer mood of course because I was hoping things would go a little more smoothly for him and he'd be able to rest and get better before Christmas. Send that good juju his way people...
I woke up this morning feeling like I needed a refresh, or at least a good healthy dose of mother nature to bring me back in touch. I jumped in my car first thing and headed out to my homeland- the Sonoma coast. I was lucky enough to grow up there and I consider the entire coastline and inland country from the SF Golden Gate all the way up to Healdsburg on highway 1 "home". I started by driving through downtown San Rafael, a place my dad worked for almost 30 years. It's so familiar and cozy to me, just passing through I could feel myself relaxing. I used to accompany my dad when I was a little girl on his pump station check-in days and it was one of my favorite things to do. Just to ride along and watch him work. Sometimes he'd take a "wrong turn" and we'd end up exploring the mansions and waterways of Marin county. He'd treat me by visiting Industrial Light and Magic's back lot, where they had all sorts of cool things happening in the heyday of Lucas. I remember seeing Ewoks without their heads, the sets for the Back to the Future films and Harrison Ford's full magnum body cast from Star Wars. All by him lifting me high enough to see over the fence or convincing the secretary to let me take a peek. Good memories. He took me to Santana's house, where I marveled at the private golf course and outlandish fountain in the front yard. There's even a mini castle tucked up in the hills of the city that practically blew my mind as kid.
After passing through San Rafael and moving onto to Sir Francis Drake Blvd, I found myself deep immersed in thought. Driving through towns like Ross, Fairfax, Lagunitas and the San Geronimo Valley, I couldn't help but notice how much I missed the area. So many artists walking their dogs, cheerful people actually saying hello as they passed by with their morning coffee. As I entered Golden Gate National park, one other thing I couldn't help but notice was how many of the hiking trails and campgrounds of yesteryear have now been officially closed by the state. So sad. What happens to these parks? They sit empty and quiet, overgrown and forgotten. This broke my heart just a little to witness first hand, since I had spent many a summer in those redwoods. Speaking of redwoods, my goodness, aren't they magnificent? In the early day, the fog still sits above the ground, wandering through the towering giants as the sun splashes rays of light down onto the forest floor. It's truly beautiful and very nostalgic sight for me.
I made my way out to one of my favorite towns in the country- Point Reyes Station. I love to visit this time of year because it is mostly locals, going about their daily business, smiling and wandering the streets. I visited Cowgirl Creamery for some of my favorite cheese, then did some Christmas shopping along the tiny streets. People out there are either one of two things: very suspicious or incredibly friendly and warm. I think they revel in the down season, where they can run their shops with ease. The bookstores are the best. I was happy to overhear the shopkeeper of one particular store addressing his local friends about children's books. As they walked in, he kindly asked them to examine a table he had set up and choose a few books for their children, as a gift from him and his wife for the holidays. This warmed my heart. Not only was this man running a very bustling little private bookstore, he was keeping his friends and family in mind by giving back to them for their loyalty. What a lovely idea! After grabbing some fresh berries and toffee, I went and camped out on a bench with a group of locals discussing the agenda for the day. "I have to walk Rufus, the old bag of bones is starting to get bored cooped up inside" said one of them, referring to his ancient Labrador sitting at his feet. "There's an open studio down in Valley Ford I'd like to visit this afternoon" said another eclectic patron dressed in layers of silk and wool. A part of me wanted to stay there forever, in this town so unaffected by society and the outer world. A simple, powerful community that exists so far out in the country you would hardly imagine it could thrive.
After sitting for an hour or so in the cool sunlight, I decided to make haste to a favorite deli in Olema to grab a sandwich. I then wandered out to Muir beach, ate my sandwich and watched the waves. Something about the ocean calms me down, and today it was a much needed respite. It was an absolutely gorgeous day on the coast, I am so glad I visited.
Today's painting is me... just being me.