A sleep-in, all cuddly and snug, with fresh coffee to clear my head,
Then it was off to the valleys, the mountains and coast
Where clouds scurried overhead like imaginary ghosts.
Winter in valleys and pastures alike found trees bare with mist rising,
For the rains had just stopped and the sun shone in full glare
Spreading a pearly softness throughout the air.
A car, here and there, appeared on the road, each destination unknown.
New calves and lambs on hillsides were grazing
There in the long valley called so greenfully amazing.
Down from the hills, onto the plain, impromptu streams poured great froth.
There, Old Watson School since 1856 has kept watch,
Past the lambs wool store and the blooming broom so Scotch.
Soon came Bodega, Victorian in every windowpane and bright light,
We paused to remember all those years long ago,
When the field wasn’t Landscape but land for food to grow.
At Highway One, the big houses and eucalyptus trees so out of place
Are rocking to rhythms from the wind unheard,
And the little bay town, so busy in summer, lies undisturbed.
We stop at Salmon Creek, shed ourselves of the Blue Noise, and take to the trail.
High tide had the ocean climbing the steep beach,
Tossing foam and debris within easy reach.
I graze the sand for treasures, hoping to remake a mobile of my youth.
Instead of odd trinkets of metal and glass,
I am left with an old tire, plastic garbage, no brass.
Winds grab at my long hair and I feel the cold sting of the Pacific calling,
Reminding me of another time in this place
When pregnancy and youth set the pace.
On the road again, following the steep winding path of One’s devious way,
Comes a hot brandy hard won, and famed Timber Cove lunch
Where the swans have long since left, the whole bunch.
Just another tourist, watching the surf beating on the rocks below,
Counting egrets, crumpled old fences and tin barns,
Until the day shrinks and of nighttime it warns.
Up Old Ross Road, away from the Russian Fort so historic,
We climb through the tunnel of wet redwoods and oak,
Giant ferns and huge gulleys all asoak.
Waterfalls emerge, jumping from ledge to ledge and surprise us some more
As the mountains close in and cup us in their grasp
Little of daylight breaks through as we pass.
Suddenly the land jumps to open nature’s door, bring us to rolling meadow.
Here is the sun, brilliant sky and deep crevasses.
Here hang the silvered grey Spanish mosses.
The black ribbon road continues to weave its way through the mountains,
Past the old stage coach stop with its wondrous old view,
Past lonesome country retreat and family homes, too.
Like Dasher, Dancer and crew, we whirl onward this Christmas Day.
Weathered and tumbling down old fences have one story to tell,
And so do the white orange posts from fiber optic hell.
The land levels down near Montgomery School and brings us to Cazadero
Where the redwoods were carved from the soil,
Bringing men hungry for the chance to toil.
A few hardy souls can be seen as we go, but mostly lights and windows glow.
From the smoke in the chimneys now haunting the air,
We know crackling fires are set before many a chair.
We leave the mountains and forest nearly behind as we enter River Road.
Home buildings multiply and cattle dwindle
Where the Russian River churns like thread on a spindle.
It’s homeward we’re bound, as the towns rush by and collide,
Pushing us past Northwoods to Korbel’s gate,
Now vineyards, now river, now lagoon in flood state.
Sometimes of a Christmas Day, things happen to renew our life.
Such was the year in two thousand and three,
When Hubby and me set out for Sonoma County to see.
December 25, 2003