A couple days ago my fiance Rebecca and I took a half-day trip to explore the northern Sonoma coast; what a majestic place it is! We started off from the 101 by driving through the towering redwoods and past the Russian River, following it all the way to its mouth. Then we turned north and climbed the coastal bluffs and the scenery became more and more stunning. Wildflowers were abundant on the shoulder and the hillsides: California poppies and their almost-psychedelic oranges and yellows, purple and white lupine, the brilliant red of the occasional Indian paintbrush…
Lovely pine tree in its earliest stages of development.
The cliffs are rugged pastiches of gray and black and auburn and sandstone, rocky and jagged from the ceaseless slicing hands of wind and sand and wave. I stared for miles and miles into the azure distance of the open ocean, feeling so very free and liberated, the total antithesis of the ceaseless, manic, cruel and loathsome mental condition forced on the incarcerated. I thank Earth every day that I am a free man–free from prison, anyway.
We stopped at a beach and threw a stick for our American bulldog and pit bull mix Rikki; she and I jogged through a stream (from which Rikki and I both took cool, sweet sips–to Rebecca’s ire–but I can’t help but taste real water, when it’s from what appears to be a safe source) that led into the ocean and through the rocky surf. Rikki also is an unquestionable symbol of freedom. To see her bound along on the beach is to truly know ecstasy and unadulterated joie de vivre. If only we humans were lucky and smart enough to capture and maintain that kind of attitude.
On the way home we had an interesting and profound interaction with some other humans, one of those serendipitous events that wouldn‘t have happened if not for the perfect collusion of random choices. Rebecca pulled us into a turnout so we could take Rikki to pee. An older man and woman pulled up in a silver van and got out. Rebecca and I were both immediately struck with how much the man resembled an older version of her dearly departed father, Bob. He had the same fine, combed-back white hair that Bob had toward the end of his long and courageous battle with cancer and other ailments. His lips were soft and drawn down in the way that those with few or no teeth are–just like Bob without his dentures. So adorable!
Some of my most interesting moments on the road have begun by striking up conversation with strangers, so I approached the couple. Turns out they’ve lived in the New Orleans area their entire life. The woman had never even left Louisiana! I told them about my volunteer relief work with Common Ground after Hurricane Katrina, and about how intensely profound an experience it was. They told us how wonderful a time they were having in California already on the very start of their three-week trip. I recommended several places they just had to see along their route. Rebecca and I were both stunned further by the resemblance between the gentleman and her father: he had the same goofy sense of humor; and his name was also Bob! It was eerie, and our subsequent discussion confirmed that we both felt the same vibes pulsing off the sweet old man with his lovely N’awleans twang.
This is not the place for me to wax philosophical on synchronicity–because I could, for pages and pages–but it is something to think about.
I told the couple how to avoid a three-hour clusterfuck on their drive from there to Humboldt, then shook hands with Bob and his wife and I hugged. I wish them the best, and am so grateful that our respective orbits entwined for a brief stretch.
People come from all over the country, all over the world, to California, because it is the Wild West; it is one of the last areas with large unbroken tracts of wilderness in the lower 48. It is a place of magic and incomprehensible beauty. But soon it will all be gone–logged, decimated completely of wildlife, poisoned, “developed,” and plowed for agriculture to feed the growing overpopulation of humans (GET A VASECTOMY, guys!); unless, that is, we build a serious resistance movement to the destruction of the west and the planet. Let’s Rewild the West, and All the Rest!