Oh, good morning, rooster.
Fog hanging low. The cafe is fuller this morning than the last few times I’d been. Black coffee and a bacon and goat cheese empanada. The flurry of Spanish circling my ears. I’m reminded that we have a lot of learning to do upon my return,
Return. Not thinking about leaving just yet.
She pulls out a bowl of pomegranate seeds and adds it to the bar that is already stuffed full of scones and hard-boiled eggs and flaky sea salt, granola and yogurt, and local unfiltered apple juice.
A deer darts across 128. He turns back to look at us as we move along.
Two more deer. These, I didn’t see. They stop and stare at us again. Remember to look up Deer medicine later.
It’s just the two of us, and a young man with the chef, and this is actually the most perfect thing, A private pasta-making class during which we drink Scharfenberger and sparkling water. We make farfalle and pappardelle and the one that looks like a chicken gullet. He brings us oysters—my first time eating them raw—and then a salad with more pomegranate seeds and pickled butternut squash and roasted delicata with a ginger dressing, and then our pasta to which he’s added shrimp seasoned with a piment d’ville. And then a plate of figs drizzled with honeycomb.
Delight while under the blanket on the sleeping porch. Her in her bath with her glass of Syrah and her book. The sounds of the cats chasing one another through the leaves.
Notebooks full of stars.
A whole sky full of stars. Billions of them. I feel even smaller at this moment that when we overlooking the gray waves of the sea. Why does this have to be the last night?
Up before the alarm. Not surprised at all by this. There is too much to be excited about.
I find them all and give them hugs before I go. They are all jealous that I am leaving. I tell them that we will pick another weekend for all of us to go. Don’t worry. He asks me to bring back a bottle of Pinot Noir Juice.
I go through the car wash like he asked me too even though I feel like it will put me behind schedule.
No. I’m really not a city person.
I’m here. She’s here. We’re together.
The water is churning. So powerful. I’ve never seen waves that big. We pull off somewhere in Bodega Bay to watch the gray water smash against the gray cliffs.
Lunch at Trink’s. Apparently it’s Point Reyes Blue Cheese that should be on my BLT, not cheddar. The sound of crashing waves flooding the spaces in between words.
Mountain View Road.
Phillips Hill Gewurtztraminer with our backs to the sun.
Roederer Brut. Baxter Pinot Noir. Catching up in the candle light. Writing a list of restaurants in New Orleans for the server. Hot shower uninterrupted.
The roosters are calmer this morning. I wish I could trade the sounds of roosters for the sounds of dogs that I’ll be returning to back home.
Twenty more minutes before the coffee shop opens.
I try my best to tiptoe through the room but the floors still creak underneath my footsteps.
I start to tear up as I sprinkle cinnamon into my coffee.
I opt for the bacon and goat cheese empanada. There are little bits of red bell pepper in it. The pastry is crisp and flaky, yet soft. We should have come here for lunch yesterday.
The construction guys are back. He’s talking about how he killed his dahlias last year and how he can’t get an avocado to sprout. They always wait until 8:30 to begin.
Molly is coming down the front stairs as we make our way into the lobby to check out. I hope I run into Molly the next time I’m here.
We take the 128 out of town. I can see myself having a ranch here one day. Yeah. I can see that.
What element of this will I be able to recreate or continue to live out once I return home?
The wisdom of the body.
Wow. The roosters are really loud today.
I try my best to tip-toe through the room for clothes, find what I need to wash my face and put in contacts and get ready for the day.
I look at my watch. Oh good, Moosewood is just opening. I have her come with me to get coffee and some pastries for the others.
Had I understood what everyone meant by going to the river, I would have packed appropriately. We find the rockier parts of the beach and they try to skip rocks while I watch the water run. Yes, I need to be closer to water.
I try to fight away the pang of pre-departure sadness.
Filtered or unfiltered 2015 PInot Noir? We’ll take both.
Suitcase rosé of Syrah while we sit in these chairs for the last pre-dinner drink. I say something about wondering if I’m naive in thinking that I really can have a life that I don’t need to vacate. That I want travelling to be about experience and exploration, not escape.
I could eat this plum tart for the rest of my life.
I sit at her table and we talk about the ills of digital connectivity, privacy in the digital age, life-altering experiences, the definition of sanity. She starts every other story by telling me that’s she’s a private person, but “I’ll tell you this.” Her eyes sparkle in the candlelight. He asks me how old I think she is, I say she’s at least 80 but maybe older.
Another pang of pre-departure sadness.
The roosters are so loud.
What is that clanking sound? It feels like it must be time to get up.
It’s only 50 degrees. I did not plan properly. I grab a sweater and my shawl and my camera and head out to the gardens.
We find the coffeehouse that opens at 7. The case is filled with homemade pastries and empanadas. I must come back for an empanada.
The baby goats. But I could do without the flies.
The best goat cheese I’ve ever tasted. I will be back for more.
I’m looking at her and she thinks I’m confused but I’m actually just searching for the words. Finally, “Estamos comemos.” He says her face lit up when the Spanish came from my mouth. I ask her to come back tomorrow. “Hasta Luego!” “Hasta Luego!”
The power of language as a bridge. Words build connection. The right words lay a foundation for intimacy and belonging and compassion. This is why I try to be so careful with what comes out.
Roederer. Phillips Hill. Drew Family Cellars.
She asks me if this is the kind of place I want to move to when the rental is done. I tell her that this is the kind of place I’d come to after her and her brothers have made a life of their own. But that yes, I love to be in places where I know names and faces and everything feels familiar and walkable. I like feeling like I belong.