A couple of days before the New Year we went on our last in 2011 trip to Sonoma. Unlike our November trip, this time everything was as expected: naked or covered with brittle brown leaves vines, ripen persimmons on bare branches and grey sky. And “sparrows are flying again.” Well, I’m not sure what kind of birds those were (dark smudges on the picture below aren’t image artifact or dirty lens – those are flocks of birds flying together) but it was a mesmerizing spectacle. Usually we see those synchronized swooping and turning of birds en masse from a moving car window but this time we were on solid ground and were able to take a lot of pictures.
Since this time there were three families in our party, instead of a hotel we rented a private house. A welcome letter sent to us several days before our arrival explained how to get there and contained some instructions including:
The key is located in the home on the small table to the left of the door as you enter. Yes, we do keep the doors unlocked sometimes up here.
“On the small table…” Yes, that was where we found it once we arrived. We went through the house to figure out what was where and all of us got a strange feeling: it looked inhabited, as if owners had just stepped away to get something to eat and could be back any minute. No, there was no warm kettle on a stove or smoking cigarette in an ashtray, but there were bottles with wine on the kitchen counter, cheese in the fridge and a motorcycle in the garage. I even went outside to check again the house number.
We were in the right house – a nice one, I should add, with spectacular views from windows, two fireplaces (one of them in a bedroom that I’d won in a coin toss) and a well stocked kitchen. A nice but a little strange house. And when my vSO noticed a white child’s dress in a plastic cover hanging in the empty closet we agreed it felt like we were in one of Stephen King’s novels.
The feeling has even increased when I discovered a tray with perfumes on a dresser in my bedroom and a display stand with perfume miniatures in one of the bathrooms. I thought that the house was tempting me.
Nothing sinister had happened during our stay (if not to count that I got spooked in the morning when I opened blinds in our bedroom and saw an owl sitting on a balcony railing – a wooden one as I realized a second later). It was a very pleasant trip. We visited many great wineries (new find for us – deLorimier Winery), tried and bought some good wines (they’ve passed paw inspection by Rusty on our return) and I wore wonderful perfumes (Serge Lutens’ Jeux de Peau that I deemed wine-testing-friendly and brought with me for that purpose and Dior’s Dioressence from a vintage mini bottle in the bathroom of that strange house – it was still good, I enjoyed it in the evenings).
I considered contacting owners with the offer to buy that mini bottle but decided against that: who knows how much spirits that live in that house feel attached to that PARFUM…
Images: my own