barn marking Hwy. 128 East, Sonoma Co.
After all the Thanksgiving festivities midst freezing temperatures today’s radiant sunshine with hazy clouds beckoned loudly for a field trip. And all week long I’d been watching and waiting for a break in the weather and schedule to venture back to a road I’ve been finding myself needing to drive. (Book tours apparently take you new places!) The east end of the road begins symbolically at the above red barn, just off our main freeway, harkening to an immediate transition into the heart of Alexander Valley’s wine country. What a treat! In all honesty the day did not present the exact light I’d been watching and hoping for, but that is the human condition when looking to replicate a missed moment. For this very drive took me to a booksigning last weekend in Calistoga, and it was all I could do not to stop the car numerous times on the way to my book event, the lighting being just pre-storm and glorious for a camera, but, alas there was no time. Letting go of the captured memory my eyes adjusted, acclimated to the lighting of the day, and found a subtle beauty to savor instead. Here it is.
The short drive from the barn into downtown Geyserville turns abruptly ever more deeply into the Alexander Valley, which undoubtedly is one of the most beautiful areas of Northern California. It ranges from wide and long vineyards, to simple oak forest, all accessed by narrow hairpin two lane roads, which I have grown up on and treasure driving. So fun!
Alexander Valley vineyard
What I had definitely not anticipated, however, was a breathtaking exhilarating experience with starlings! For upon turning one of the endless turns in the road I chanced upon literally hundreds of them huddled on overhead wires, some just beginning to take off in formation. Luckily there was a shoulder which allowed me to stop immediately and grab my camera, breathless and praying. En masse they flew into the sky before me and in seconds were spiraling into various formations in synch. I was delirious!
Then just as suddenly they moved deeper into an adjoining valley and patient as I was they did not return. What an extraordinary blessing to have come upon them when I did!
Continuing on my journey I managed to catch another couple of lovely views, and then made the decision to take a back road turnoff toward Healdsburg, also the site of a recent book event I did. I thought it would be a lovely thing to simply pay my book a little visit, making tribute to its presence in a very beautiful large bookstore. This book truly is my baby.
A mere six miles later I found myself parking my car along the zocolo around which the very pleasant town of Healdsburg thrives. These festive flags brought me immediate good cheer!
I sauntered about the plaza taking in the Sunday afternoon mood and activities. All is well in Healdsburg. They have already decorated a large tree in the plaza to mark the upcoming holiday. It was not overdone, but tastefully dressed.
I enjoyed the quiet steady simplicity of this central fountain.
And I smiled as I imagined who might be singing or playing music or dancing soon in this large gazebo at the edge of the large plaza. The stage is ready. Build it and they will come.
My heart lit up seeing these old fashioned street lamps preserved beautifully in the plaza. Someone there appreciates the early history and has seen to it that these can still be enjoyed by the locals and many visitors who come each week.
And as any gardener would, I took note of the precious mix of trees lining the plaza. So rich!
Along this lovely plaza is one of the growing numbers of bookstores making Plant Whatever Brings You Joy available to new readers. Entering I am passed by one of the booksellers who had purchased my book during my recent book event. “Did you read the book??” I ask her, smiling. “I love that book!” she responds. “I’m buying a copy for someone in my family.” Lovely. It does my heart so much good that this book has touched another reader who wants to pass it along. This its destiny.
Love and venture blessings,
Book News: Please join me Saturday, December 12th at Baker Creek Seed Bank in Petaluma. I’ll be signing books from 1:00-3:00PM. I’d love to meet you in person!
Posted on November 28th, 2010 by Kathryn
Filed under: Field Trips