It’s been a restful Lord’s Day today, with beautiful warm weather. My dad would have been 89 today. There were many hummingbirds in the yard — his, and many in our family’s favorite bird — he would have been delighted.
On Friday however, it was a different matter, when I drove down to Hollister, attending to an errand for my youngest son. It was a whopping 95° F. when I got there with traffic aplenty. I was expecting my navigation system to complain about this excessive heat. I know, I would, if I was sitting under a hot windshield — and I would have asked for a glass of ice tea, or lemonade perhaps.
Several tractors plowing fields on the left of Highway 156, just past Gilroy, were stirring up clouds of dust driving on the rich dark soil. To my right several large broccoli fields. I love looking at the vast expanse of the different kinds of fields in the valley, the golden hills with their stately old gnarled oaks on them, spaced apart just right, surrounding the valley.
Having completed my errand, I enquired directions (inside the office building, so as not to hurt Ms. Navigation’s feelings) on how to get to Mission San Juan Bautista, one of California’s Missions, that sits on El Camino Real, and also the San Andreas Fault. For decades I had passed signs on Highway 101 attesting to its presence, but I never got off the highway before, always eager to arrive at my final destination, be it north, or south. After receiving instructions, I left.
I was pleasantly surprised when I arrived. San Juan Bautista has the typical feel of a small California Central Valley town — a place that time forgot. One can picture it in a John Steinbeck novel. I parked at the Mission, and then stepped inside. The temperature drop inside must have been at least 30 degrees. The old — four to five foot thick adobe walls — have a natural air conditioning effect. After visiting the museum, I spent a few quiet moments in the Mission church, and then stepped out into the huge courtyard, greeted once again by the heat and olive trees, passion flowers, oleanders, and palms — a Mediterranean garden — peaceful and well maintained.
After exploring the garden I went back into the Mission and chatted briefly with the entrance fee collector. To my surprise, as I was leaving — I saw a cat sleeping on a chair — content of course inside the cool adobe building. I had passed the cat coming in, but hadn’t noticed it. I petted it, and it didn’t even bother to open it’s eyes. Siesta time, Mr. tourist — you may depart now.
Have a blessed week (and some naps).