Wednesday, December 24, 2014


It's very quiet, very dark.

The tall bank of windows next to the bed betray no light. On the other side are huge silent trees, mostly Douglas Fir. Between them and in the distance the sky usually shows itself in one way or another: a faint spray of stars, some moonlight, the first efforts of dawn. Nothing.

It doesn't get this quiet in Silicon Valley, ever. But there is one sound, very faint, in the background. Rain in the forest. My phone says 4:35. Right on time.

The next time I'm conscious it's nearly 10. The windows show a mass of grey sky and water droplets on the glass. There was a sound, a door closing. Some human made a desperate foray into this space to feed a desperately hungry feline. As a visitor, I disrupt the routine.

It's great to greet my dad in his chair, get a hug, make some coffee. Linger and talk. There's a fire in the wood stove. The light coming in from a couple of skylights is soft. My hair's all over the place, scrunched on one side and wild on the other. I'm wearing the same street clothes as the past 4 days. He doesn't care.

At one point, a heavy downpour begins. It's really loud, punishing the outside of the cabin with pressurized water. I keep a few ground rules for these adventures, boundaries that help in dealing with risks. I will never ride:

  • In an electrical storm (broken on PBP 2011)
  • With ice on the road (broken on Christmas Trip 1997 and 2013, on Sunrise Highway)
  • In a big storm from the Pacific on the North Coast 

There's a pause in the conversation to look up. We built this structure. For a moment, protected by our own efforts, we are capable, successful, resilient. When you evolve with a place and adopt behaviors that allow you to survive there, it becomes your habitat. This is ours. On the other hand, that was 40 years ago...

Then Dad, with impeccable timing, looks at me with a grin and says, "New roof".

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