In 1995 my Grandmother turned 96. This turning implied more than a turning of the page. It was a turning of the corner. After effectively caring for herself nearly an entire century, she simply could do it no longer. Clearly. After soul searching and chest pounding and tears and prayer I took a step I had never imagined I would take. I brought her down to the Bay Area. Fortunately angels were at my side and a clear path opened and the next thing I knew I was packing her up into my Explorer Sport and driving her to her new life–mine. Managing her day to day care was prohibitive. I was able, miraculously, divinely, to place her in a loving, well-managed nursing home in the heart of downtown Sonoma. Little did I know that I was entering a six year adventure, for who is thinking that someone will aspire to and attain a century on planet Earth?? Looking back, I should have known. In that moment, however, I was just focusing on what she needed at that moment. Over the next six years Grandma was mobile enough to be able to participate in family activities and Sunday drives, which she thoroughly enjoyed. It was always so poignant, though, that during that time my Grandmother said to me so many times, “I would love to have lived here.”
One of the many blessings of that particular period was that for four of those trying years I placed myself on a hillside, up a dirt road, on four fabulously beautiful and healing four acres that required me to drive over Hwy. 12 to arrive at her nursing home. Thus the road I am going to here document for you, largely in photos, carries with it an enormous psychic imprint of a thousand conversations and thoughts about the caring and well being of my beloved Grandmother. Do you hear me? I think some of you will.
So out of that six year commitment I managed to build in this wondrously magnificent trail–the way in, the way out. Indeed, it was on this very road, as I was just exiting Sonoma, turning on to Hwy. 12 when I was struck solidly with the intuitive knowing that she had left planet Earth. “Oh, Grandma,” I found myself crying out, tears streaming down my face. Indeed, when I arrived home at the other end of Hwy. 12 there was a message from the hospital that she had left us.
So Hwy. 12 will always mean a lot to me. I carry it with me wherever I go, a sacred touchstone, that I find I long for if I am too long away from it. Happily, now when I go I am ususally seeking out my longtime hairdresser, my favorite Italian cafe, Cafe Citti, or the sheer joy of a beauteous afternoon.
President’s Day I stole out of the office (no one was working in New York, afterall) as I know how beautiful the area is at this time of year and I was enormously inspired to share some of those images with all of you! Enjoy!
One of my very favorite beauties on Hwy. 12 is the elaborate stonework, all handdone, in a fashion lost to most skilled laborers. (That is Hwy.12 you see stretching just beyond the trees.)
Continuing on our journey, do not these old vines wretch at your heart?
A lovely old rosemary grows nearby to keep them company.
An iron rooster keeps watch from a neighboring rooftop.
And our journey ends in a springtime mustard filled vineyard.
Thank you for taking this trip with me.
Love and blessings,
Posted on February 22nd, 2008 by Kathryn
Filed under: Sacred places