Thursday, August 12, 2021

Through Half Moon Bay or A Cow In Distress

On July 19th, we said Good Morning, from Corte Madera, at the hotel that I was loving, and plotting to be our future Gateway to the Redwoods rest stop. It will be a long haul to get all this way from our Southern California homes, but so worthwhile when we land. We can have our dinners at Amy's Drive Thru, then take a night swim in the big pool. William and I walked around the place, saw the picnic area with grills, the basketball court, and shuffle board area. I even took a swing on the little putting green, where I hit a hole in one, by the way. This hotel is budget friendly, nicely appointed, and full of fun ammenities. In fact, I seriously considered calling Geoff... "Good morning, Love. I've been thinking. If the young folks and I sit here another day, you and the rest of our young folks could drive up, and get here by bedtime, then the next day we can go into the Redwoods, and live there forever, or a week." This came to mind, and it was hard to convince myself that it wasn't a simple, feasible, reasonable plan. In lieu of staying, I took pictures of the tiled floors and wainscoting in the bathroom, the blue paint, too. (We have some bathrooms that need help, back at the Bird House.) I calculated how many rooms we will need to reserve for when we come back on the Family & Friends Redwood Caravan. Basically, we kind of kicked back and lingered awhile, rather than trying for a pre-dawn departure. And during this causual linger, I devised a plan to get to my brother's by a scenic route. When the van was loaded, again, and we were checked out, I proposed, "Let's get off the freeway, and head down through Half Moon Bay."
As we didn't have far to go, we might as well make it a beautiful drive, and enjoy as much of our roadtrip as possible. It was a good choice. And... I seem to recall making this choice, at least, once before, even staying in touch with Bill, so he knew how we were progressing.
It's all about the views, the California golds, and blues, the soft greens. We've left behind dense forests, which is a shame, but we are also out of the city, and four lane highways, which is a welcome relief. For long stretches, it was as though we had the whole coast mostly to ourselves, and I was happy to stop, for strawberries, for vistas, to look for sea lions. We ran along some pretty bluffs, and shared deep thoughts and other musings about all we had seen, and the last bits that lay ahead.
We like to stop at Pigeon Point Light Station. Ok, it's only our second time coming here, but we like it! There's a good visitor center, and even a hostel. The views of the ocean and coast are beautiful, and so is the lighthouse. Do you want to play a little game? Imagine the sound you hear at a light house, the fog horn. Can you hear it? Can you mimic a low and mournful fog horn sound? Now, have a listen to these, and see which one sounds familiar, or like your idea of a classic fog horn. I love this display, and the samples, the history of lighthouse fog horns.
The Cow in Distress... I feel like I've heard this in an old movie!
"Bee-Ohh" Can you guess what I am going to say about this? I feel like I've heard this in an old movie!
Air Siren. Ok, well, yeah... I have definitely heard this in old movies. For some reason I am picturing Robert Taylor embracing Vivian Leigh, on a foggy street, in London. One more!
Single Note Diaphragm Horn Thank you for playing along. Now these are in my head, and all I want to do is rent a beach house somewhere near Pigeon Point Light Station, watch old movies, take long walks, and paint romantic shorelines, bake bread, and send letters in airmail envelopes.
Who wants to join me? On the way to our beach house, we can pick up some fresh produce, jams, a pie. I know a place I would love to return to... Swanton Berry Farm.

For this whole trip, I had some pretty firm wishes, and an unspoken checklist, which included things like visit a tea shop, get into a river, collect moss, take walks, and find gifts. Because it was Olallieberry season, and Alex loves olallieberries, I became determined to find any kind of Olallieberry something to bring back to Alex. Swanton's Berry Farm turned out to be a highlight stop, the kind of place that is memorable, as well as inspiring, and I felt like I had struck more California gold when I stepped into their farm store. I found Olallieberry jam, and a place that reminded me of ideals I applaud, people I have admired.

Another thing... I was crying, moments before pulling into the parking lot of the Berry Farm. You see, we were driving on the One, between the Pacific, and Big Basin Redwoods State Park. The silhouettes of blackend trees were backlit by the rising sun, entire swaths of charred forest, loss, devastation, climate change, negligence, a point of no return, were all around us. And how could I not cry? Seeing first hand evidence of things that break my heart, our hurting planet, a fire so large and fierce it burned through to the coast, crossed the highway and stopped at the ocean, because it ran out of fuel, is chilling. And where will this happen next? Because it will happen, again. Here. Turkey. Greece. Oregon. Australia. We lost Big Basin, as we knew it. It's not as though climate change will utterly destroy the planet... it will destroy what sustains us, humans, animals, life as we know it. Our damaged climate will cause us to suffer, emotionally, physically. And sadly, this isn't about the future, some later date, because we are in the midst of that grim "future" right now: "It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land. Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere have occurred." We will lose more homes, and clean air, access to water, we will suffer shortages, disasters, more pandemics, more wars, more strife. Earth will heal by removing as much of our actions and activities as it takes to return to as much balance, and natural patterns as possible on a small, blue planet orbiting around a star. They say it could take a decade before Big Basin is safe to re-open, but there is no timeline, and a lot to be done to reimagine Big Basin "for climate resiliency and equitable public access." And! Who do I think I am, driving around on a whim, buying stuff to haul home, burning fossil fuels, making plans to come back, because I love nature? Oh crud. Oh, existential dread, despair, grief, frustration, and irony.

I feel small, now. I'm sorry.

We can't look at a burnt forest, or read about flooding, and pandemics, and not want to make changes, can we? I believe in small changes, and big ideas. We must vote for representatives that love and respect this planet as a precious, rare place that should be protected, sustained for all people, and generations. Letting private companies and corporations exploit workers and the environment for profit is villainous and deplorable. We have a responsibility to love each other, and our home, this small planet, our sisters and brothers. And... I am speaking, not in a rallying cry, self-assured and bold, but as one human, scared, and unsure, hoping to find resolve and motivation to believe that ideals are solutions that we can strive for, act on, and be saved by.
Wow. Well, there is a lot to see, and a lot to think about, in 74 miles, driving from Corte Madera through Half Moon Bay, then on to Soquel. We didn't take long, eventually getting to Bill and Alison's. I think I will save the rest of this day for another post. I might sit here and play fog horn videos for a while. Or maybe fix a piece of toast and slather it in Olallieberry jam. I have a lot of feelings, and it's hard to face.

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