We meticulously packed the car so every square inch was full, making last minute additions by rolling windows down and then up again from the drivers seat, with one person holding contents in place. We had a floor lamp secured to the roof top bike rack, and a large duffel strapped to roof as well. One last sweep over all the rooms of the house and a final pull on the front door and our winter adventure was coming to a close. Water was pooling at the edges of the driveway, as the massive accumulations of snow were finally succumbing to rising spring temperatures. We could hear chickadees in the trees, and the steady dripping from roof eaves.
One short side trip to drop some stuff off that did not fit in the car at Jeff's house and we were on our way. As we dropped in elevation the temperature rose until we hit the valley floor when the dashboard display topped out at 90 degrees. We were sweltering after 5 months in the cold, this seemed unbearable. Traffic came to a stop on 80 for no perceptible reason somewhere out in the Delta, so indefatigable Diane unfolded our dog-eared map and rerouted us on a meandering path through Rio Vista and a variety of other bucolic Delta towns. We drove unhindered over the raised levees, and old draw bridges - spying delta speed boats and jet skis plying the waters all around us. We chatted about how we would amuse ourselves in the coming months and continued to sweat even with the air conditioner running.
Then, before we knew it, the green rounded hills of the East Bay loomed ahead and we followed the narrowing highway gorge into the Caldicot tunnel. Due to the east wind and the odd atmospheric conditions, even crossing under the hills did not produce a drop in temperature and we pulled to a stop in front of the house at 90 degrees. We were greeted warmly by our neighbors as they offered assistance to haul our winter packings up the 45 steps to the house. Box by box the dining room filled and the car emptied until everything had made it up to our hillside perch. Looking around I wondered how we were going to find a place for all this STUFF, when the house already appeared full. Moving back into an occupied house was certainly a different experience from moving into an empty house - like we had done at the beginning of the ski season 5 months ago.
New bird sounds filled the house as we opened the windows to air things out. The aroma of the blooming grasses and flowers wafted in with the fresh air - the sweet jasmine among others alerting and exiting our nostrils after months of only woodsmoke and sweaty ski clothes. Our feral cat returned, demanding to be fed, and all the deferred chores seemed to be calling out to me as I tried to relax on the deck and simply absorb the significant changes this day had produced. The camera batteries were exhausted, so I simply hung it back up on it's familiar hook in the closet, shut the door, cleared off the bed from piles of unpacked clothing and went to bed.