Our route takes us from Sonoma north to Bodega Bay, rolling between the hills. To our left cattle farms act as a buffer from the cold wind that comes from the deep, dark Pacific and mangles the sparse trees like skinny ladies on top of the hills with big fluffy hair being whipped off their faces. The sun was starting to sink behind the hills, highlighting the distorted silhouettes, and I laughed with my camera in hand while my handsome driver pushed the rental car to the limit for our destination.
In his many trips to Cali, Todd had never been to Bodega Bay, and since I had never seen the Pacific, we decided to share these new things and capture the sun set over the ocean.
Californians inhabit the warmer hillsides to the east, leaving the oceanfront along their northern coast largely undeveloped. The drive though the countryside felt strangely like home, closing my eyes, the farm smells of mud and cattle like Big Pa and Mema’s house. Had the space where we drove been cut short by forests and buildings, freeways and sub developments, I may have been truly confused; however, the scenery goes on for what seems like forever. Todd comments, “If I didn’t know better, I’d think we were in Montana.” I giggle, and Todd shines a cool grin in my direction. The Dixie Chicks are correct: open spaces are truly freeing. In this moment the weight of career and society are so far away, I feel like a child and laughter grabs me uncontrollably.
We pass the marshy bay south of Bodega and turn left, the mighty Pacific finally revealed. This moment I have longed for as far back as I recall. The roar of the crashing waves, the expanse of salt water before me, I hold my breath to heighten my hearing and begin to cry. Standing on the steep hill side, the wind pushes my hair back like the skinny lady trees and I laugh through tears.
If you’ve never seen the sun set on the Pacific, put it on your list. Although the finale was blocked by low fog, I knew where the sun was behind that gray blanket and imagined myself standing on the edge of forever. The feeling is burned in my brain like a tattoo.