Normally I would’ve Yelped in hopes of finding some cool little coffeehouse with sandwiches and free wifi, but when the Starbucks logo flashed into view, I thought, Look, it’s Redding. Just stop where you need to stop.

So here I am, answering emails and having a late lunch in Redding. Outside, the sun’s shining warmly enough that the people at the tables are happy in shorts and tank tops. I’m inside, at a table next to two glowingly pretty young women discussing their Bible lessons. (All those young Christian women seem to have a uniform loveliness about them.) When I bumped my wrist on the “bento box” lunch package I’d purchased causing my cucumber salad to end up in my lap, they were kind enough to pretend nothing had happened. I’m pretty sure no cool way exists to wipe sauce off one’s crotch in public — secular chicks would’ve at least snorted at the sight.

I didn’t sleep enough, the days bookended by work on one side and fun on the other. The Capitol neighborhood fills me with a sense of purpose and hope, oddly enough, given the protracted debate and frustrating nature of politics. Everyone’s so busy! So full of confidence. (They’re in too much of a hurry to use reusable bags, mugs and water bottles, too, but that’s a rant for another blog.) Living in it would skew my perspective — I need the beach and bay and redwoods to keep my heart straight — but I left satisfied the trip was a worthwhile one.

Usually I drive the 20/101, but on a lark, I opted to cruise all the way to Redding and will take 299 back. I haven’t seen the Trinity for months. The river won’t look like winter, but it will be beautiful, I’m sure. A different beautiful from winding around Clear Lake — we’re so lucky to have so many kinds of beauty splayed out for the taking.

I am listening to podcasts on the drive. Nick Lowe singing The Beast In Me, a song he wrote for Johnny Cash, broke and healed my heart a little. It’s in this episode of WTF with Marc Maron. Also, this short episode of Radiolab is particularly fine.

These girls are reading Bible passages out loud. I don’t know any of them. Which is unsurprising, never having spent much time in church or reading that particular book. My Biblical knowledge comes as much from Jules Winnfield as it does the few years I spent in Catholic high school. I don’t mind. The landscape glows with meaning.