Dawn in Napa brings the kinds of landscapes, with layer upon layer of hills and fields and trees, that I associate with prints of impressionist oil paintings scattered around the average home in the late twentieth century.
Very late last fall, we left the already-frigid upstate New York for a weekend in Napa.
During that trip, we visited the Bond-villain-esque Palmaz Vineyards. Almost the entire winery is underground in an 18-story cavern, using gravity to feed grapes and nascent wine from level to level. These enormous fermentation tanks are on a 24-tank rotating rail system so that each can be filled.
Even the dormant vines in “winter” give the setting an idyllic, “classical landscape” look.
I’m very sad to share that my graduate advisor, Prof. Charles B. Harris, passed away yesterday. He discovered the quadruple bond and he taught me how to be a scientist and a mentor. Charles was always so proud of the achievements of his students; we spoke last year after I received tenure and I’m glad I had the opportunity to tell him that he could add yet another successful faculty member to his list of accomplishments. I miss him.
Looking at this picture from the mossy hills of the Bay Area on a misty morning, I’m reminded of his house in hills of Orinda.
Today’s shot has some pleasant symmetry to it: the careful lines of the trellises, the interplay between the blue of the sky and the creamy colors of the gravel, and the complete contrast of the curving and unruly hills running behind it all. There’s something personally satisfying about the way humans carve out little areas of neurotically-aligned geometry, but in the end, it’s nothing compared to the scale of the randomness produced by plate tectonics.