in Hopland


I’m staying at a friend’s mountain home in Hopland for a few months while I get some writing done before my move back to Osaka in April.  I’ve been visiting this spot since I was a kid, coming up here for Easter egg hunts, and also for Passover celebrations.  The property is one of several on the mountain that were originally part of the Duncan Springs resort area — a getaway for those city slickers in San Francisco who felt they needed to spend some time up in the wilds of Mendocino County.  Several cabins were built in the 20s and 30s, around the obvious attraction of glorious views, clean air, abundant wildlife, oak and moss to die for, stars at night, and a profusion of creeks (many of them running through veins of pink quartz).

Since moving into the Hopland house I’ve had a couple of visitors.  On Sunday night I had a bird fly into the house through the front door while I was cooking dinner.  The bird panicked to find itself trapped inside a strange environment of electric lights and a blocked-out sky and kept flying around in circles until it finally tired itself out and I was able to gently pick it up with a towel and usher it outside.  The next night, as I was lying on the couch near the wood-burning stove that’s the only source of heat for the house, a field mouse joined me in the living room and decided to investigate the crumbs on the ground to see if any of them were worth eating.  Since they were all just tiny bits of firewood, he didn’t take any bites and eventually made his way out the front door.  He didn’t seem very bothered by me, and I certainly wasn’t bothered by him.  By day, sitting on the front porch, I can watch the turkey vultures and red-tailed hawks soaring in the air while I read.

The most beautiful sight I’ve seen since I’ve been on the mountain is the field full of dew-covered spider webs that appeared after a heavy morning mist.  There were hundreds of them in the field and, with the sun shining down from behind, they looked like a rainfall of alien dandelions.  At night, under the full moon, the frogs in the nearby pond create a croaking threnody that’s so loud it creates the impression of a physical mass, as if it were a pond of sound that could be walked through.


2 Responses to “in Hopland”

  1. There is,
    A dew,
    In the diffuse,
    Light of morning.

    A black and white photo can communicate that something too.

  2. 2 Nessa

    Happened on your blog from a google search about the basho oak tree haiku. Totally enjoying your photos and California experience compared to Japan. I hope you have a safe trip back and continue your photography and writing. It’s a good thing in our world.

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