california writing

In August

21 August 2009

I think when John Steinbeck wrote in East of Eden ” … and mixed with these were splashes of California poppies. These too are of a burning color — not orange, not gold, but if pure gold were liquid and could raise a cream, that golden cream might be like the color of the poppies” he was writing about Northern California in August. I know it, in fact, because he and I are like-minded and dogged in our love for this place in all its seasons.

People always say California in summer is ugly, all that withered grass and dry earth. But I like to think of it as ‘golden’; and anyway I don’t mind it too much because there are bay trees and poppies and the smell of the sea to make up for it. There’s really no place else I’d rather be right now.

The other day I had a picnic in Divide Meadow, with cheese and champagne (!) and tomatoes and potato chips. It was sunny, and very still and quiet. The wind rushed through the grass in the way it does but I wasn’t cold at all. I meant to read but instead looked over the field and wished a little bit for chocolate and that I’d brought my pack so I could spend the night by the the ocean at Wildcat Camp. I have spent so many afternoons there — in rain and sun both and I thought about how I might like to build a little place for myself on the hill overlooking the ocean with the branches dropped by the oak trees there.

Or maybe it was just the thrill of an unexpected picnic that made it so.

Lately there has been

– much coffee at Toby’s in Pt. Reyes Station, with what I think must be my new favorite brew (Taylor Made, from my home town)
– sun and wind
– dolphins off of Keyhoe which I never have seen before in all my years of going there
– cheese

– beer with lunch
– green tea in the park
– my npr story on lavender

But mostly there has been sun and the fog coming in slow and early as tends to be its wont. Perhaps that’s why I love it here so much: the changing light and the stillness. August always feels very still to me for some reason, perhaps because it’s the end of summer and that fall-feeling is lingering around your heart a bit even if you’d prefer to wish it away. I would like to grab time by the hands and sit it down with me for just a little while longer — summer, please stay.

  • John C Abell 23 August 2009 at 6:37 am

    Sounds Idyllic. And a wonder place to share.

  • denise (chez danisse) 22 August 2009 at 12:22 pm

    Just today I decided to buy some culinary lavender at the market and experiment a bit. I’ve never used lavender in my cooking and your NPR article could not have been written at a better time, for me. I’m planning on trying your Onion-Lavender Tart. The woman who helped me purchase my lavender directed me to the Grosso variety (Lavandula intermedia) and, from what I’ve read, I’m not so sure that it was the best culinary option. Darn. I’ll go easy and try it anyway. What the heck, I’m adventurous… Thank you!