Sunday, August 5, 2012

August Ocean

I read a short story not long ago where estimable Irish literary author Colm Tóibín referred to Point Reyes National Seashore in Northern California in words I do not exactly remember but the general idea was barren and sinister. This interpretation seemed monumentally unfair to me, yet I allowed that Tóibín was probably mentally comparing my favorite local landscape to the legendary west of Ireland which is the brightest and lushest green in the world, according to repute, filled with hospitable dingles and undulations.

Point Reyes on Saturday was fogged in solid. No mistake about that. I climbed one of the trees below and saw how the fog had condensed into water droplets on the parasitic mosses. Up in that tree was where my camera obtained the long view of the Pacific coast (immediately above) – with bays and inlets abounding, but no dingles.

Thistles stung me through my jeans as I left the tree and returned to the road, heading down to the unsunny shore where modest, worn-down valleys and cliffs border the flat and uneventful shore.

There I could spend several restorative hours in a nearly toneless, nearly tuneless place where humans have so far made less visual impact than almost anywhere on earth.

Someday Point Reyes will be covered in condos. Colm Tóibín will no longer be able to compare it to a moonscape. It will look just like the rest of America the Ugly. Of this inevitable future fact I have no doubt whatsoever. But there is comfort in the reflection that I will surely be dead beforehand.