It was time for the Christmas tree to come down. At Mitchell cabin, however, it not only comes down but is thrown down.

Our Christmas tree was only four feet tall this year, so once Lynn had removed the ornaments and I had taken down the lights, I could easily pick it up and toss it off our deck. That way, I didn’t have to awkwardly carry it through narrow walkways and down a couple of dozen steps, scattering needles the whole way.

Back when I lived in cities such as New York, Council Bluffs, and San Francisco, I could never have gotten away with throwing trees from my deck. The neighbors would have had conniptions. Nowadays, no one complains when I toss Christmas trees off my deck. This year, the only neighbors around were three horses, and they didn’t even whinny when old tannenbaum dropped out of the sky few yards away.

(Blog trivia: In the November 24 posting, I mentioned having developed a muscle spasm in my back as a result of trimming daisies with a chainsaw — as unlikely as that sounded. For the record, the bushes above with yellow flowers are those very daisies.)

Like many other West Marin residents, I dispose of my worn out Christmas trees at the bin behind the sheriff’s substation (Fourth and C streets in Point Reyes Station). Again this year, the number of Christmas trees dropped off at the bin far exceeds its capacity, and many have been discarded on the edge of C Street. It’s always an unceremonious farewell to Christmas.

Replacing weltschmerz with  jazz at the No Name bar in Sausalito last Friday. From left: Rob Roth on sax, KC Filson (barely visible) on keyboard, Pierre Archain on bass, and Alex Aspinall on drums. In a green jacket at the far right is Sausalito artist Steve Sara.

Finding peace of mind can be difficult these days, what with massacres of thousands of innocent people around the globe: from Paris, to Nigeria, to Yemen, to Iraq, to Syria, to Afghanistan, to New York City, to Boston and so on. It’s not only horrific, it’s frustrating because there’s very little each of us alone can do to stop any of it.

People use many remedies to relieve the frustration. For me, the best are the traditional “wine, women, and song.” As a result, Lynn and I drive to Sausalito about once a week to listen to jazz at the No Name, have a few drinks, and talk with strangers.

The music is great, the bar well tended, and as for the women — there is a covered garden in the back of the bar where one can coo, drink, smoke, play chess, or get into fascinating conversations with other customers. On Friday, I heard about Sartre from a man who knew him in Paris. A transplant from Montreal, who had lived near the Mohawk community of Kahnawake, told me about the Canadian government’s relations with its First Nation peoples. ______________________________________________________________

The artist Steve Sara (seen above) can often be found evenings in the No Name, inconspicuously sketching the scene.

Usually his subjects are unaware they’re being sketched. I certainly have had no idea when Steve was sketching me.

He surprised me last Friday with this oil painting of my listening intently to the blues on a previous Friday.

Steve says his art is “influenced by Social Realism, the Ashcan School, and California School Artists such as Emil Kosa and Phil Dike.”

He paints both en plein-air and from photos in his Sausalito Studio. ________________________________________________________________

A pair of crows were keeping watch over the lower field at Mitchell cabin on Saturday until I played the role of human scarecrow. The moment I focused my camera on them, the bird on the left took flight.

Since Lynn’s birthday is tomorrow, we decided to take an outing today and ended up along the Petaluma River near downtown.

One of the attractions of the Petaluma River is that a number of good restaurants have clear views of the water. Lynn and I found a table with an excellent view at Dempsey’s Restaurant and Brewery, where we ate outdoors beside the river.

Dempsey’s bills itself “Sonoma County’s oldest brewery,” having been founded 22 years ago. The attractive, dark-wood restaurant is at the right end of this pedestrian bridge over the river. Downtown Petaluma is on the left end.

So what if the Golden Gate Bridge was shut down Sunday? This was the only bridge we needed in order to keep wandering.