The Golden Gate Bridge leads to a magical place filled with history and mystery. In the air, scents and sounds trigger memories of a time before metadata became all-consuming and the simple act of noticing served to preserve something meaningful.
Our day trip showed us the magic that floats along the coastline and revealed to us some things worthy of being remembered. Our intended destination was Muir Woods. Fortunately for us, not necessarily for Muir Woods, cars spilled over from every parking area and along the roadside for over a mile. So, we kept driving. The thrill of exploring new territory, new to us anyway, was made extra thrilling by the curves and switchbacks and stretches of road with low visibility and no guard rails! Our excitement grew as we approached Panoramic Parkway. Onlookers stood by the roadside snapping photos to their heart’s content. Photos, like our own, that do not do justice to the splendid scene.
We stopped to stretch and take a breath at Stinson Beach where we witnessed families enjoying the day together and the disappointment of a seagull that discovered what he thought was a picnic was only a bag of sand. It was too comical not to capture the effort of the perpetrator and his lookout trying to score some beachgoer’s lunch.
Forward to the edge of the world, where beach gave way to woodland and then to craggy cliff, we came upon two cemeteries. One was tucked deep into a churchyard protected by a row of majestic sentries. A crow protested our intrusion until he realized we meant no harm and left us to walk among the dead.
The other graveyard was high upon a hill behind a chain link fence. Hawks circled above as we strolled the silent hilltop. Cemeteries hold secrets, but they can also tell a story. If you know what you’re looking for, the story of immigrant populations unfolds in the names, dates, and ages chiseled in granite, marble, or stone of lesser value. Paying attention to details such as the location, size, and inscriptions on the markers, the story can take on a life of its own. Evidently, families that ferried together got buried together.
On our way back from Point Reyes Lighthouse there was a driver who could not abide with our traveling the speed limit and whizzed passed us in a fury only to be stopped in his tracks a half a mile down the road by what else but one of those California happy cows. It certainly made me happy to see this guy’s road rage foiled by a cow!
We made our way back into the city. Of course this is the view everybody goes for.
But if you look around, you see more.
This is how I try to find balance. By taking it all in, all of it, and working out for myself what is praiseworthy, what is salvageable, and what is too heavy for me to carry, but that must not be forgotten. All of this is important. All of this goes with us. All of this is life.
The beauty, glorious and powerful, the pain, devastating and necessary, and the middle ground, where seraphs and fears hover in spheres, agreeing to disagree.