I drove up from Oakland this afternoon and turned onto Highway 88 through Jackson Valley. A thick cloud cover this afternoon, silver blue but not dark. Occasionally, the sun came through in a bar between the clouds, and the clouds turn white when backlit by the sun. The line of the Sierras to the north and east was barely distinguishable from the clouds. Maybe for the first time I had a feel for the valley ringed by the mountain ranges, and the rolling grasslands, now greening over, as the foothills of the Sierras.
I have discovered online jigsaw puzzles with jigidi.com. I enjoy nostalgic winter scenes, not only because the pieces are easier to match. The Jackson Valley today was worthy of an online puzzle – the low winter light, the bare trees, the clouds piled high and long bars of sun across the sky. Before sitting down to write, I enjoyed the last bit of setting sun behind the ridge south of the ranch.
Having an errand in Jackson, I came home by Stony Creek Road. The road is an old friend that I have seen in all manner of weather and season. My favorite valley oak is still there, with its branches arching across the road.
About this time last year, I was driving the truck through the Mojave Desert on the way back from San Diego. A memorable if longer route, and then over the Tehachapi Pass and into the Central Valley.