(My hot-off-the-griddle cognomen for Mount Tam, a bastardization and collage of the Bengali tamal and the eh-spanish país.)
Friday morning Rama and I dosed our case of cabin fever with a half-day on the mountain (I was covering for Erica at the Flo that evening so she could hit up an X-mas party and had to be back in the O at four for dinner service). Pre-Rama I wasn't too well acquainted with Tam--I'd visited a couple times back in the diz with my ex-bf who also didn't have a good lay of it, and I remember mostly sulking that we weren't at the ocean. Rama knows Tam like the back of his hand (it's uncanny), and I've enjoyed getting a steadily better sense of it. We camp there on the semi-reg (almost always at Pantoll but twice at Bootjack when the former was full), and we've hiked around a fair amount. I like it very much in general, and when it's cloud-shrouded I straight-up love it.
Friday morning it was foggy and misty and drizzly and rainy, and I was positively deranged with pleasure, tearing around in a state of sustained elation, frothing and foto-ing like a lunatic.
For starters, the ascending drive was picturesque as all get-out. I am compelled by roads, and I don't think I'm alone in this. There a lot of good song bits about roads, and here are my tops of the pops (because why not?):
- There are some mornings when the sky looks like a road
- God, every road takes us farther from home
- I toured the light, so many foreign roads
- And it ain't no use in turning on your light babe/ I'm on the dark side of the road
- For I am a part of the road/ Yeah I am a part of the road/The hardest part/ The hardest part
Number five is from Bill Callahan's "One Fine Morning," which is one of my soul songs; I don't know just what those lines mean, but for me they have that ineffable grip, that cellular hold. They resonate with a steeliness I feel in me under all the soft stuff, an implacability much deeper than Taurean stubbornness. I don't think women are socialized as much to know this place in themselves, "deep down where [their] fight is waiting," but fuck that. It's selfhood and it's certainty and it's power.
Anyway, I took a lot of pictures out the car window.
And then when we arrived I took about a million more. The rest of this bloggity is a mostly word-free selection of fotes, from the muddy trails and into the bush and back again. They're perhaps repetitive, but I'm going to just roll with bliss of excess I was experiencing taking them:
I was going on and on about the Wonderful Weather, and Rama wondered if I wouldn't at some point get sick of storminess if I lived somewhere with incessant rain. I'm not sure. I am (as I've probably mentioned to death) a notably hot potato, and whipping winds and (moderate) cold endow me with turbo energy. The phrase "in my element" might apply, which makes sense given my northerly coloring. It's prob what I'm built for. Rama, swarthy dude that he is, is just the opposite. He says that only in very hot places does he feel his body can truly relax--otherwise it's perpetually braced for the next temperature drop. (One caveat I must mention is that once chilled I am like a quenched flame and can take hours to re-heat. It'd be a sham to claim badassery when I'm someone prone to literal teeth-chattering.)
There's a small story behind the photo above and the photo below: Rama and I had hiked this same hillside perhaps a year back. It's mostly oak and madrone, and so Rama had been bothered to come upon a patch of Douglas fir saplings, as they would in time grow taller than the other trees to first take the light and then to take over completely. And so Rama busted out some arborist know-how and girdled the offending saplings, which means he cut out a ring of bark at the base of each tree to effectively kill everything growing above the gash, i.e. the tree itself. This worked well, and you can see how pleased Rama was to find the tiny swath of dead Dougs. The moral complexity and counter-intuitive, interconnected, webbed subtlety of this is interesting to me (it makes me think of how the invention of the automobile gangbustered deer populations, of how a new Prius has a bigger carbon footprint than an old economy Toyota, of how forest fires are vital to forest health). Also Rama's propensity for evil glee and his compulsion to drover and to generally "tool it" are some of the counted ways how I love he.
We arrived back at the car just in time to get me to work by four. I was completely wiped after expending so much frenzied energy, and dozed the drive back. I arrived at work hopelessly groggy, but Rama brought me a cup of Whole Foods coffee (and a couple doughnut holes and a tuna sandwich because he is my savior). This delivery + the film-noir-worthy pouring rain improved my worknight. And anyway it was a really beautiful day.