In winter, Sonoma Valley sometimes gets too misty to show much definition–the oaks barely come out of the gloom, the hills don’t break into their usual imbricated rows.

“Cataloochee, the Cherokee word was. Meaning waves of mountains in fading rows.” — Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain.

There was no cataloochee, or imbrication, today. There were only drapes of lichen hidden in the forest, enveloped in the finest rain–so fine you’d be tempted to go out without your umbrella, and then come home soaked.


On Lake Suttonfield, lines of male mergansers swam along shore opposite the flocks of females. A grebe didn’t dive when it saw us, but sank rear first and submerged completely. He re-emerged to resume diving normally. There were buffleheads, mallards, an American wigeon. And a complete absence of other hikers.

Winter solitude–
in a world of one color
the sound of wind.


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