Thursday, September 19, 2013

California Dreamin' Day Eight

Morning in the Forest

We slept with the Farmhouse windows open, and I left a crack in the curtains so I could awake to the sound of the morning light. Just as planned, the sweet melody of birds singing their ode to the new day began to drift through the cool crisp air beckoning me to get up. With my “roommates” still sleeping, I quickly got dressed to slip outside so that I might capture images of the magic hour with my camera. As I reached for the door, I remembered the sketch pad and artist supplies from the day before. I also remembered my invitation to Bill to join me in the morning light to capture some of the magic with his new pen and sketch pad. I gently whispered in his ear “You’re missing the magic hour”. His eyes didn’t open but I persisted…“Your sketch pad is waiting for you…” and then I quietly slipped through the door and down the stairs. 

The room at the bottom of the stairs was inviting, a fresh bouquet of sunflowers on the table lit up the room and beckoned me to stay, but I was on a mission. Camera in hand I opened the creaky door and entered the kingdom of Morning in the Forest. This new morning was alive and fresh and I wanted to capture all of it. Gardens in September can begin to look a little worn around the edges, but no matter… I found beauty in every corner, with an occasional humming bird zipping by. It wasn’t long before I sensed I was not alone in the gardens and began to look about. I soon spotted my Honey carrying a stool with artist tools in hand to the far side of the gardens. I smiled at him… pleased that he had decided to act upon my invitation. 

I continued my lark through the garden, taking pics of everything that intrigued me… an elaborate spider web, (thankfully with no spider in sight,) chickens in the hidden coup, (I heard them first,) sweet blossoms unfamiliar to me, and long shots of the gardens and house I had called home for the night. Bill was in his own corner of our morning kingdom busily sketching away with an occasional act of pondering as he held his pinched fingers forward to judge distance and perspective for the image he was creating. I peeked over his shoulder and marveled at the likeness he had created. It was just a beginning, but it was beautiful. Yes, there is an artist inside of my Bill… just begging to be set free. 

A delicious breakfast in a cozy nook and we were soon ready to say our “good-byes” and our “we’ll come again” to both Margie and Bessie the cook, and to the beautiful surroundings that we had found such comfort in.  And then we were off for the next adventure… kayaking up the Big River at high tide, the current and our strokes pushing us ever up stream… Bill and I in a double seated canoe with outriggers and Emilee riding solo in a bright yellow kayak. We paddled up stream for almost an hour and a half and then turned around to come down the river, hoping to take advantage of the changing tide which was soon to begin its descent. Emilee was a trooper but was getting tired, so we had her maneuver her kayak between the pontoons of our canoe catching a ride with us for a while, then letting her solo until she tired again. It was a beautiful morning to be on the river and a grand adventure for the three of us.

Our next destination was Muir Woods National Monument down the coast almost all the way back to San Francisco. We thought it just a couple of hours away but it took the rest of our day to get there. The road from the coast was like a toboggan ride through the trees with tight curves and zig-zagging that was not for the faint of heart. We finally arrived at the Woods just an hour before closing, and I so wanted to linger there. We had just enough time for a brisk walk through the old growth redwood forest before it became dark. It was another adventure from my bucket list… I wanted to walk in the steps of John Muir, an 18th century botanist whom this forest is named for. He was present when this land was set aside and dedicated as a national monument. Another checked box for me but also a favorite memory sharing the magic of this beautiful forest with Emilee and Bill.

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