Just back, sleep-deprived but well-fed and -wined from five days in Napa at the writers' conf. From the total silence of a cottage in the foggy woods to the sound of teenagers departing from the houses across the street. They mill around the front lawn moaning "byyyye....byyyye...looove ya".
Napa = strange mixture of the cute and the authentic. Like the shady front porches, like the tanned, rotund Spanish-talking cowboys chewing the fat on a bench in front of the supermarket in Calistoga two nights ago. About four of them, watching life go buy, and the women, behind them sun setting on a range of mountains I have in other seasons climbed. Would gladly have climbed again, but this week no time between readings and driving up and down the valley to events. Vineyards amazingly lush--all irrigated, all head high, undulating, greener than any vineyards I've seen in Provence. Must be the drip systems. They say the Valley is running out of water. Movie memorabilia at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery.
The hardware store: downtown St Helena, with everything a hardware store should have, nails to pipes to housewares, happy customers and clerks who looking like they'd been selling U-bends for decades and could not imagine anything they'd rather be doing.