Saturday, October 25, 2008
Little Lake Valley in Autumn Afternoon Sunwash
With the west side of the valley being too dark too soon, I set out for the east side immediately after work a couple of days ago, to try to capture images of autumn in our native vegetation. Hearst-Willits Road is the old route over the ridges to the east of town, leading to the site of the village once called Hearst on a fork of the Eel River. The initial climb out of Little Lake Valley is steep, winding, and fairly narrow. It's paved, but not quite wide enough to designate two sides of traffic with a line down the middle. A few feet of dirt turn-out space, whenever available, supplements the roadbed for getting past opposing vehicles.
Climbing the hill, I squeezed my little truck into these scant margins whenever a potential photo subject caught my eye. I would set my parking brake, get out, and keep an ear open for motors coming near. It was "rush hour", so about seven or eight cars passed in the course of a half hour. At least five of the drivers asked me if I was "okay" as they slowly rolled by. It was so sweet, because whether I was still sitting in the truck, standing beside it, or wandering down or across the road from it, they checked with me through their open windows, without quite stopping, in case I had engine trouble, or was looking for something that bounced out, or was about to leap off the road cut. They were willing to offer aid. Okay, one of them knew me by name, so I'd have been hurt if Ralph hadn't asked. And I think the two that didn't say anything probably spotted my little camera in hand first. It was reassuring and heartwarming all in all. Or maybe it's a sign my truck looks like it's ready to fall apart.
This backlit view of the valley shows the autumn color of the local ash and oak trees lining the pasture lands and hay fields of the valley floor, as the sun just starts to sink behind the western ridge line. In the lower right, a herd of deer munch on some tender new grass.