On a clear day..

..you can see across California!

While flying home yesterday morning from a conference in Minnesota, I stared out the window and watched the west go by. Barren mountains and alkali flats were the lay of the land, with nary a tree to be seen.Oz

As we crossed over Carson City and into California, it was like the scene in The Wizard of Oz where Dorothy escapes her black and white world and into a technicolor dream. Yesterday’s wind created white caps on Lake Tahoe, and the twists and bends of the Truckee River produced golden glints seen from several thousand feet up.

The captain told us passengers that it was so clear that he could see both the Sierra Nevadas and the Coastal Range, from one side of California to the other.

We cruised over the snow-dusted mountains which were formed from plate shifts and magma 150-25 million years ago. I thought of all the time I’ve spent in those mountains and river canyons. They were once the home of the Paiute and Miwok people and are now a playground for outdoor enthusiasts (including some other Native types like me who feel more at home exploring the terrain than in any planned community in the flat lands.)

The descent into the Sacramento Valley unfolded a patchwork quilt of agricultural wonder. Vibrant and varying shades of green, yellow, and red squares were stitched together by country roads and waterways. The texture of the quilt was developed by the rows of crops and tractor tracks. Flooded rice fields glimmered in the sun.

Locals were telling fellow non-local passengers what the different crops were and giving suggestions to a couple planning their getaway to the Napa-Sonoma region.

So, say what you want about our lack of nightlife, misguided politicos, and brainless morning news shows — Northern California rules, even if you can only base your opinion by sitting in seat 21A.

8 thoughts on “On a clear day..”

  1. makes me want to get outta town just for the plane ride back to sac…thanks for reminding me of the beauty that i take for granted far too often.


  2. This post is being considered for The Sacramento Bee’s roundup of regional blogs, which appears Sunday in Forum.

    The Blog Watch column is limited to about 800 words. Blog posts included in the column are often trimmed to fit. The blog’s main address will appear in The Bee, and the online copy of the article will contain links to the actual blog post.

    If you have questions (or you DON’T want your blog post considered for inclusion in the newspaper column), contact me at greed@sacbee.com

    Gary Reed
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  3. Have any of you had the experience where you see something in real life, and then you realize that what seemed to be gross exaggerations in cartoons or Disneyland rides were actually true to life? This is what this was like for me — kind of like seeing the Alps for the first time, trees heavily laden with Spanish moss, fireflies, Bob Ross-esque landscapes, or sunsets that look like one of those ’70s bottles with the layers of sand (which, for some reason, used to adorn the backs of many a toilet.)


  4. RunnerGirl: The opposite happened to me on my first trip to Yosemite…. got spoiled by too many Ansel Adams photographs.

    Your writing is gorgeous and makes me homesick!


  5. this little bit made me think of opening an old box of dried rose petals and yellowed love letters-thanks again, runnergirl.


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