Light as a Feather

“A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.”(Chinese proverb)

Darkness and night had been closing in on us like a vise. So much for film noir winters in Seattle. You can deal with it, or do like the birds and head south. With our daughters living in San Francisco, my husband and I chose California for Christmas. I haven’t told them yet but it may always be this way.

We are driving. “Welcome to California” reads the sign illustrated with yellow poppies. The sky lifts; it is higher here and blue. Mt. Shasta is straight ahead and pointy. Soft grass on one side of the mountain, on the other, craggy rock. Black angus dot the golden fields. Pine needles shine in a silvery light, looking like feather trees. Rocks glow like mica. Everything is shining in this state. There’s a glare to the light, and something we haven’t seen for months: jet streaks across the sky. And things we never see in Seattle such as trees laden with oranges like ornaments. For the color and the light alone, we are glad we are coming.

I believe it’s a California bylaw that things are never quite what you expected. On Christmas day we dressed and stepped out with our daughters for a Moroccan dinner in The Castro. Later, to my sister-in-law’s home in The Bay Area where the food and the wine ¬†never stop and every room is filled with art, one room flowing into another. Something has come back, it seems, a painting, a piece of sculpture, a magnum bottle, from every place they ever traveled and every event they ever attended. All together, assembled, arranged, and showcased, as one giant celebration of life.

Returning, a steady rain accompanies us as we make our way through The Pacific Northwest. That’s alright, we are over the hump now in terms of darkened days. Sod farms as green as Ireland, tree farms, and despite all the trucks on the road, we noted that not one was carrying logs. When the housing industry is down, the trees get a break. Clear cut areas have a chance to grow back, which has to be good for the birds.


Filed under Birds, California

12 responses to “Light as a Feather

  1. Yes, like a vise! Having been born and raised in Southern California I believe I will never get used to the dark days of winter int he Northwest. But, Oh! the green, green spring. Worth it?

  2. Lovely journaling (wd?) Kim, except for one thing………..You didn’t stop in Portland on your way there or back! What up girl? Next time, stop over for the night, a meal, cup of coffee.
    Also, info on your holiday card made me realize, your daughter Jacqueline works for Eventbright owned by the people Rachael works for as a nanny. What are the odds two room mates from the east coast would have
    daughters working for the same family in SF? I’m guessing infinitesimally small. Somebody email Stephen Hawking right now.

  3. dulcie witman

    we are such funny creatures, aren’t we? Animals live where the weather suits them and/or they suit up for the weather. How is it that we decide?

  4. I love the unexpected wonders of Christmas in a different city. Happy New Year!

  5. Keith Eisner


    Happy New Year and thanks for the tender thoughts on rain, travel, Christmas and birds. More!


  6. Teri

    You made the roadtrip sound lovely. I swear for all the times I’ve taken that drive, Mt Shasta rarely appears! Thankfully we are over the darkest days.
    Happy 2012. Teri

  7. Lynn Dunn

    We loved sharing our holiday celebration with the family! I am truly missing the green hillsides…. I am thinking a rain dance might be appropriate?

  8. Lynn Dunn

    We loved sharing the holiday with you! I think of you often as I am working in my library….your idea. We are missing the green hillsides here. I am thinking a rain dance might be appropriate? (I apologize if this gets posted twice….a little transmission issue)

  9. Beth Yourgrau

    When I’m not driving, I’m typically a dozing passenger. Imagine all I would have missed on the same journey. Such vivid images. Since our son is moving to Atlanta this month, I’ll try to resurrect them when we travel there from MA. Keep writing, It’s lovely and inspiring.

  10. Prady Misra

    Thanks for sharing. I love natural beauty of California and enjoy the cities of San Francisco and San Diego but nothing beats the clean air, sweet water, and lush greenery of evergreen state topped by Rainier.The PNW landscape is out of this world.

  11. Paula Wolcott

    Hi Kim,
    Your blog is wonderful! I feel like I’m there. Keep writing!

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