At the top of the valley, red shouldered hawks rode the wind, beating back the sky waiting patiently for a kill. My partner pulled over the car and we watched them dive down, disappearing into the folds of the hillsides, as vultures careened full speed between the cypress landing on fence posts far off in the distance.
At the large boulders of rock, velvet black ravens skip across the surface as the sea shimmers touching the sand, and the outline of Mt. Tamalpais can be seen in the distance.
We left the cawing ravens, the old dairy farms with caramel colored jerseys and black and white coated holsteins grazing on rich green grasses and followed the wetlands of egrets and waterfowl to a larger town with an independent bookstore, crowded with weekend tourists squeezing their last free moments in before Monday.
I lost myself in the bookstore.
I wanted, needed a good book to inspire my work week. I love preparing and serving food, but I don't care for the mound of dishes and clean up after 50 guests.
I try to be zen about it. One dish at a time. I scrub the pots emptying my thoughts, digging into my work, appreciating the simple task of it all. And then I look up after much effort and sweat, my face red, my hair and apron wet with flying soap suds and the mountain of dishes seems to have risen instead of diminished.
It is not all about the joy of cooking. It is the dishes too.
I found two books, used books from the cavernous dimly lit room below the bookstore. Essays on cooking and food.
Both written by women filled with emotion, hardship, loss and love.
My kind of books. My kind of Sunday.
The kitchen and the people I have fallen in love with.
And the dishes.
Always the dishes.