Women Who Bathe With The Wolves

Sophia insisted that my visit would not be complete without a bubble bath in her super-sized tub that looks out upon her rose bushes while accompanied by a canine bath attendent. She even took my picture thus engaged.

She wrote down the back way out of the Carmel Valley, which proved to be a fascinating drive--over Laureles Grade, then east on Route 68, exit onto Reservation Road, right on Davis Road and right on Laurel onto 101 North. Translated into English, this means a winding road over rolling hills, and straight roads through fields of lettuce and strawberries. Late season rains left the California hills still green, the ubiquitous oaks lush, and fields of wildflowers rampant. The town of Gilroy offered a wealth of garlic and cherry stands, and I was still in wild rolling hills when I saw a sign "San Jose City Limits". Soon after, I passed Silicon Valley Drive, and considered the new California gold rush happening here.

Commerce used to be geography specific. Agriculture depended upon water and soil conditions. Cities were built by waterways, and, later, where railroads met. High tech is geographically arbitrary. But, when it does settle, it creates wealth.

Lani and Alan moved down to Silicon Valley from the Sierras after decades of outdoor life and alternative means of income. Alan was teaching cross country skiing at the Sierra Club Lodge, and, before that, he had a bicycle shop in Santa Cruz called The Bike Trip. Lani worked with pre-schoolers at River Child Care in Guerneville, on the Russian River, a place where three year olds are encouraged to find the answers to their problems from inside themselves. Ten years later, Alan and Lani have a new house and new cars, and everything inside the house looks beautiful, clean and bright. Visiting them is like going to a spa; with the most beneficial health foods in the kitchen, beautiful walks in the hillls close by, and room to do yoga on the wide, clean carpeted living room floor. My brother, who is also a software designer, but in Irvine, told me there is book about this particular social phenomenon--the bohemian bourgeoise. Like my brother, Alan works almost around the clock when his start-up firm has a big project. This is the case now, so my presence in their third bedroom means welcome company for Lani. I am sorry not to see much of Alan, who has both a warm heart and an interesting mind, but I am also glad my long visit is an asset. I will be here for a week. I am hoping to get in lots of yoga, walks, and girl talk.

When we were hiking in Big Sur last weekend, Alan told me that, in Germany, it was traditional for students, after finishing their studies, to hike around the countryside. The locals would take them in and feed them, and the students would tell them stories. In this way the country folk would learn what was going on in neighboring areas, perhaps learn something of what the students had learned in school, and swap amusing stories and songs. I guess a book tour has some of that in it, too. I am, as one friend put it, a stirrer of the soup.