Hoping to get Life in General ironed out, I took a trip to Sacramento this week. As far as being the ultimate answer to all of life's problems. . .well, it wasn't, but I had a very good time up there and the drive up brought me through the delta country in the springtime. The latter advantage dragged me into two detours.
The first of these was off of Highway 99; I think it was just a little south of Lodi, but it was the wild mustard--acres and acres of it--that caught my eye, rather than any geographical fact. I headed east from the highway and tried to find a place where I might both park and get a comprehensive shot of the fields. Well, the rule on that road seems to be that you can't have both. All of the biggest views were fleeting, visible only from a moving car on a fairly busy road. A side road provided a shoulder to park on, but comparatively limited views. Not that this should be taken as a complaint per se. What it lacked in expansive landscapes it made up in incidental charm: redwing blackbirds chattering among the weeds in a ditch, cascades of blackberry brambles, and a strong, coast-like wind, just cold enough to make you feel alive. A few days later, on my way back south I took Highway 5 and was, once again, lured off the main road, this time near Hood. Here the fields lacked the golden ostentation of mustard, but they were very wide and very green, broken only by the levees, or by equally green groves of trees. I drove through Hood and along the top of the levee beyond it until I remembered that I was supposed to be back in Tehachapi for a 7:00 rehersal that night and I was, instead of getting myself there, backtracking towards Sacramento. All the same, I stopped before I had quite reached 5 again and took a few quick shots of a herd of cattle in one of the impossibly green fields. Picture miles of field like that, a wind with a distant flavour of almost-forgotten snow blowing out of a wide blue sky, and you will gather that it was difficult to merge back onto the highway.