Restraint of Trade


I don’t need to be participatory.  I can just observe.  From this table at Oakville, some tagging it ‘the Oakville’, with my large coffee.  More and more I fantasize that I’m one of them, a tourist but I live just down 101, a “local”, but I want to be one of them.  Still agape, like one of them.  I am I am I am, as Sylvia said.  So why do I need to pretend.  I can smell the cooker from somewhere, maybe that new barbecue place, KINSmoke I think it’s called, just next to the indie bookstore and the bakery.  The tasting rooms, more than I can here innumerate but also adding to the hold and restraint this town has on me.  Is it a city?  A village?  Why does it need a taxonomy other than Healdsburg?  Everything about it, everything, for me in my reflectively diarist expediency, I rush my writing but can’t keep up, and that’s fine so I slow, just the way I sip a wine slow from Thumbprint, or Stonestreet, or Cartograph.  Some call this the “Napa of Sonoma”, which I couldn’t find more insulting.  Healdsburg is autonomous in its olfactory and other sensory demands and spacings in streets, the restaurants and feel of morning zephr, carrying the waking img_0971eateries and coffee language through every subtle gust.  It’s a home and getaway, where I see myself writing everyday, where I want to have an office.  Where I want to run, do more half-marathons (have done one), where I just want to be.

The town or whatever you’d call it gives me a new trade, vocation and avocation; a new topic and novel, memoir, freewriting, notes and jargon, singular words that would provide a new career, a new life, a new momentum in my prose making it more poetically sewn.  I can hear people at a nearby table talk about what they did last night, eating at Valette after doing a day of tasting, walking flight to flight, never having to leave the square.  They’re staying just down the road, ‘H2’.  After their bagel and coffee, and one of their babies calms, they’ll go back to the room to collect before driving to the other side of Healdsburg, Russian River Valley’s Westide Road district.  There’s a savory centrality to Healdsburg that neither Napa nor Sonoma could ever hold or emulate, surely not disseminate.  I’m not craving to be one of them, anymore, or even a local.  I can just collect what I see, all sensory aggravation and invitation.  I can just do what I do as a writer, observe and age those jottings indefinitely in my praiseful paragraphs.  This seraphic Sonoma enclave, seemingly meant just for me—  There it is again, either the barbecue place or maybe the grill on the corner of Healdsburg Ave and Vine.  Approaching the tangibility of “too much” for this journalist.  People should come here to do what I’m doing now, in my trade, be lovingly restrained, and overindulge in the mise en scèn itself.  Just watch, walk around, down the Avenue then up North Street, right on East till you hit Mill, then right on the Avenue again.  Its own chapter storm, novel and memoir, poetic study of Sonoma.  In such a toothsome conciseness.

Not at all anymore a fantasy.