Steve and I drove up yesterday from Berkeley (it took 3 1/2 hours) - we stopped once in Hopland at a diner where they were selling homemade pies: blueberry, blackberry, raspberry, peach, chocolate cream and banana cream. It was a tough choice, but I went with the blueberry.
The trip gets more beautiful as you head north up Highway 101 through Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. There was quite a bit of traffic leaving Berkeley through Santa Rosa, but then it opened up. When you arrive in Laytonville, you know you're here by the number of people with dreadlocks and tie-dyed clothing. Three weeks ago there were hundreds of fires raging and the smoke was so thick it was difficult to breathe. Today it's slightly hazy, in the 80's, and this is definitely one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. The property is a few miles out of town, up a long dirt road. Laytonville has close to 2,000 people and you rarely seen any of them. (At least that's been my experience.) Willets is about 20 miles away, with a population of approximately 5,000 people, a large Safeway, shopping malls, and a movie theater. We're inland from Mendocino, separated by a coastal mountain range. Redwoods grow nearby, mostly west of us and north, where it's a little cooler and wetter. On this property we have California Live Oaks, several different varieties of Pines and Firs, Madrones, and Manzanita. And LOTS OF POISON OAK. LOTS AND LOTS. TOO MUCH.
The only sound you can hear is the distant drone of Highway 101 and the sounds of rustling leaves. In other words, it's quiet. Really peaceful.
We have a redwood cabin that we stay in and our friends L & L have built themselves an amazing home, a separate bedroom, an outdoor bathroom (with shower and bathtub) and a large work shed. He is a sculptor and the land is his art project. It's practically a compound. And beautiful.
Zoe flew back yesterday on Jet Blue. This was her text to me, "A snoring old lady, a screaming baby, baby kicked iced tea in my lap, turbulence the whole way. I was hoping to crash." That's my daughter. At least she has a sense of humor.
I've claimed one of our outdoor sleeping decks as my "office." I have a chair, a meditation pillow, my books, a notebook, and I couldn't be happier. We set up a hammock for after lunch, so I can read my book and take a nice nap. Steve is having fun playing his guitar.
Last night we had barbecued flank steak (or hanger, or "flanker") with fresh tomatoes from the garden with L&L.
And the blueberry pie. We got to see Michael Phelps win his final gold medal (I slept through every other one of his races) and then we all went to bed. Steve and I are sleeping outside on the deck of the cabin, under the stars.
Life is good. Nature is amazing.
I may have to stop in at the Hopland Cafe for a piece of peach pie on the way home. Or maybe a couple of pieces?