Joanna BastianBy Joanna Bastian

Cloud cover and fog are groovy mood changers for two days, but utterly depressing when blue sky turns gray for over a week.

Looking for a mood lift, I went up valley for an exercise class. The room was packed. It was a bit of a challenge to stretch, twist and turn without bumping into a neighbor. My arms, legs, abs and facial muscles were equally stretched and crunched as I mouthed the words, “so sorry, excuse me, pardon, namaste!” I was really hoping that 100 sun salutations performed by 16 yogis would coax that golden orb into view, but the sky was just as gray an hour later as it was an hour before we started.

Cold and dreary weather of late fall deserves a dinner of hearty pasta with garden veggies. Basil pesto, sun dried tomatoes, garlic and zucchini tossed with a bit of shrimp and linguini sounded good for dinner. Along with a loaf of fresh baked bread.

After class I jaunted over to a bakery to pick up a loaf of locally baked goodness, but instead found, “Closed in Winter on Sundays” written upon the door. Undeterred, I moved on to the next shop. Alas, a locked door and dimmed lights hampered my quest for daily bread. Remembering that a new bakery had moved into the valley, I headed over to the coffee shop. The OPEN sign was dark, the parking lot as empty as my bread bag.

I briefly considered baking my own bread for dinner, but as I arrived closer to the turn-off for home, I found myself drawn to keep on driving down valley.

I stopped in the Methow post office to peek at the bulletin board for ideas for this column. I found a few good ones; let me know what you think:

• Man sits at roadside table with a few empty jars. In the background, bees swarm above hive boxes. A sign on the table invites people to “Pick Your Own Honey.”

• An article about replacing lawns with wildflower meadows.

• The National Weather Service is looking for volunteers to observe the weather. I could totally do that. It’s gray and drizzly. Just stay indoors under a sun lamp and eat pasta.

Stepping back out and into the rain, I considered the Methow Community Center. It would be a perfect location for exercise classes. The cheery open space would accommodate dozens of people. Tall windows on either side bathe the room in natural light. If anyone decides to start teaching yoga classes there on weekend mornings, let me know, I’m in.

At the Sweet River Bakery in Pateros my search was rewarded with not one but two loaves of bread so fresh they were still warm. On this particular day, it was buy-one-get-one-free. There were at least a dozen different choices to choose from. Driving back home with a roasted red pepper garlic loaf and a kalamata olive sourdough, the day seemed just a bit brighter.