I’ve started this post a dozen times or so, each time with a different notion, but with this picture as a constant. Something about the cleaving of light and shadow through this narrow alley in the town of Sonoma keeps me oscillating between topics, unable to stay within the clear boundary of one.
Most people who go to Sonoma, both the wine country and the city itself, will take pictures of wineries, of buildings gilded with a hint of that gold-specked charm of history, or better yet, of each other raising a glass of wine. Not me, it seems. I took this one picture, then a couple of the lunch we had in LaSalette, a restaurant we happened on in our search to celebrate a special occasion, and finally a “selfie” of sorts (a reflection in a mirrored surface, actually) in the after-haze of my three-port tasting dessert.
We live in the hinterlands of the wine country here in Marin, and yet we haven’t been up there proper in a couple of years. Hard to believe, but it seems the longer we keep on living here, the fewer places we go to these days.
Habit might be one reason for no longer venturing far, or, come to think of it, even out so much. The habitual comforts of home, along with the habitual chores to keep that comfort going that chews up a lot of time, that is. Another reason for staying put, and a reason that’s a little scarier than the idea of sloth, might be that we are getting old. And becoming old in ways I thought wouldn’t happen to us. Not us, surely. Aging in place suddenly looks like getting stuck in place.
Surely there must be some other territory between the blindingly sunny side of youth and the dulled and seemingly depthless side in the shadows thrown by the accumulation of years.
Maybe the trick is to not get caught in the alleys of preconceived notions in the city of stereotypes where the angle of shadows is thrown by the unforgiving slant of buildings that were designed by a rigid construction code. Maybe the trick is to lose the map, but not the compass. To ditch the grid of avenues and set out on a path twisted by hope and wrested from the wilderness with the honed edge of experience in all kinds of light.