A mere forty miles away, The Valley stretched and yawned beneath a blue and sunny sky. Or so I was told yesterday. Here, morning fog and afternoon clouds crowded up against the mountains and pushed, but could move no further. And so they gathered, growing thicker, deeper, obscuring anything and everything above the city limit lines. It was a welcome oppression. No slathering of sunscreen, no squinting of eyes on this day. With no mountains to draw the eyes outward, the view becomes one of closeness and constriction. Some recent brush clearing, and late season die-back and hibernation, reveal sights closer to hand. Corrugated pipe, a slowly deteriorating maw, opening from the jungle's detritus. The collection of broken shards of sandstone littering the surface of the west hills, the Beeline trails, encourage me to stop every time - a quick searching glance for fossil imprints in the ancient stone.
Down at the shore, grown ever more receded, rings of fish surfacing and 'v' wakes of waterfowl hastening away from my intrusion, break the grey glass. But for the nearby roar of dragsters during their few second burn of competition, the occasional passing whir of props rising from the airfield, the disquieting rattle, knocking of a front stanchion in need of maintenance, quiet can still be found. There are no motors on the lake this day. Birds call, tires crunch and hum, the heart beats loudly in my ear, unseen things rustle the underbrush. The trail winds serenely around the cove, wrapped by leafy greens, yellows, cream and russet stalks of flowers are ribbon and bow. Uugh, a month and a half away, and the holiday season creeps into my thoughts.
The sun peeks through where the cloud cover is thin, but it is muted light. Just enough to provide barely perceptible shadow across the path. They are slow, more so than I am today. With no one to rush me, to push on to the next rise, hill top, I linger where I want, when I want, for however long I want. The clouds are my mentor, and I follow their example. There is no hurry today.