Pastel Sky: Sunset on I-5 – Easter Sunday 2016
During my grad school days I would study in the Reserve Room at Wilson Library beneath enchanted pastel drawings of trees in the wind, dusk across Bellingham Bay, and morning light seeping in through patterns of window muntins by artist Susan Bennerstrom. I couldn’t afford textbooks and discovered that I only had to request a book from any class and it would be provided. The catch – I had to read it in the Reserve Room surrounded by Bennerstrom pastels that made me fall deeply in love with pastel as a medium. My favorite time of day is when sunset pales and the last wash of light across the transition sky flattens this 3D world into luscious flat pastels of smudged clouds with just a hint of under-color, foreground in black silhouette. I framed my fading day slipping behind the back of the Diablo Range, the Central Valley boundary line, from a car window on Interstate 5, driving home from a weekend with most loving and happy in-laws who built the foundation of my happiness in the love that tendered the man who is my husband. He is a work of luminous color on my canvas of middle age.
Sunrise after rain in winter at the Oakland Estuary
Even though I grew up 500 miles inland from the Atlantic, as a child I dreamed about one day living near the ocean. One of my earliest memories is sitting on my father’s shoulders thrilled and terrified by the crash and rush of waves on a family trip to East Coast beaches. When we first met in 2001, Greg and I took a roadtrip to Bellingham, WA. Standing outside Squalicum Harbor, a look of delight washed across his face as he whispered, “My dream is to live on a sailboat.” I scowled, remembering the hard work of hauling sails in strong winds on Lake Ontario, walking for miles along the coastline wrestling our Sunfish against contrary winds, exhausted in the end by the challenge of making forward progress. I shook my head. Not my dream. Then in summer of 2015 we prepared to put our house on the market. Not sure where to move in a high housing market I did not want to buy or rent a place in the Bay Area. Greg was puzzled. How would we live and work? “Do you remember your dream about living on a sailboat?” I asked. I gave him the task of researching boats and marinas. He focused on tugs and trawlers as they seemed to have more living space and he respected my aversion to sails. Looking at tugs in Alameda one sunny Sunday I asked about a sailboat that seemed to be missing it’s sails. Our agent, Jay explained self-furling sails, a game-changer leveraging the motion of hauling out rather than up the mainsail. No more fighting gravity. Ingenious. I asked to see the cabin and fell in love with soft leather and teak, two staterooms with built-in drawers and cabinets aplenty, a full kitchen, and a deck with seating for eight and two cat-seats suspended over the water. Greg could not believe my conversion. Leaning on the railing ashore we mused about what a beauty the Catalina 350 was moored in her slip below us. “I think that’s our boat,” I declared. We offered a staggeringly low price and within three weeks we were the proud owners of one beauty of a sailboat. Our 2400 square-foot, 5-bedroom house sold in September and in October we moved to the 100 square foot cabin of our Cat during the week, with weekends at the Inverness Cabin. Our lives converge in those two dreams, rocking gently at night to a lullaby of soft rain above our heads. Boat and ocean dreams realized aboard our sailboat christened, Sky High, docked in the Oakland Estuary.