Shades of dark

After years of spending most of my time on the road, I am the queen of packing light. I can make an entire week’s worth of clothing fit into a carry-on bag and as for just one or two nights – heck, that can all be crammed into something the size of a large purse. Naturally it helps that I have absolutely no sense of fashion and can fit all my beauty product needs into a tiny bag the size of a bar of chocolate, but even with all that in mind, there was this tiny, niggling thought in the back of my brain yesterday that even with my mad packing skillz, my overnight bag seemed a bit on the light side.

This morning is when I discovered that the reason my bag seemed even lighter than usual is that I forgot to pack pants. Oops. Luckily I wore dark jeans yesterday and they were still clean (despite the puddle incident), so I was covered. Also luckily, the top I wore was black, so when I then spilled coffee on myself at breakfast, it didn’t show. I am nothing if not the epitome of grace and coordination, in case that wasn’t obvious.

It was cold and gray and drizzly outside all day today, with mist still clinging to the tops of the trees, but the meeting room was warm and luckily those wearing jeans were in the majority so my lack of proper business attire went completely unnoticed. And also, having taken care of my coffee-spilling requirement early on, I successfully avoided any more small catastrophes the rest of the day. All in all, a double-win.

Because half the group had their annual work holiday party during the lunch hour, we took an extra long break in the middle of the day, and while they all went off to their party, my coworkers and I took the opportunity to drive up to the Ahwahnee. I didn’t have my camera with me, since the little flap that covers the battery slot is currently missing (and I am sure none of the cats have *any* idea where it might have run off to. None at all), but I did have my phone, and it has a pretty decent camera built in. So I snapped a few shots, just to document the fact that yes, it’s cold and misty down here. And also there is snow.

Yosemite Falls, as seen through the mist. There’s snow and ice piled on some of the rocks near the water, and even from as far away as I took this shot, the water was crashing down hard enough to spray us.

I know, perhaps I ought to have taken a picture of the actual Ahwahnee itself, since it’s a huge and impressive lodge and the interior was gorgeous, but…look! Snow!

I and another coworker had made reservations for tonight, just in case the meeting ran late, or the weather was foul, but timing and the weather all worked out in our favor, so instead we checked out and drove home tonight. And as we traveled, we were both struck by something.

In the park, there is very little lighting allowed. This has the benefit of (at least when it’s not foggy, that is) offering some absolutely stunning views of the stars in the sky. And the first hour or so of driving out of the valley that deep, heavy blackness remained, such that the headlights from the car are literally the only illumination and you could not see more than a few feet beyond the edge of the road.

But then we crested over a hill and far off in the distance I could see a glow, lighting up the entire sky. A bit more driving and there we were, back in the heart of civilization, with neon signs everywhere you look, casting enough light so that despite how late it was, we could still easily see far off in the distance. I’d never really noticed how drastic a difference it was before, and it was a bit disconcerting to realize how easily most of us get used to the distinct lack of a true night sky.

‘Tis the season for Holidailies.