Long day of recalcitrant brakes, town with only a highway exit ramp; funky mechanic; willing the radiator to not over-heat as we climb Mount Diablo. The campfire is now embers; the potatoes, well-blackened skins, inside are as velvety as if mashed with heavy cream and sweet butter.
Somewhere, beyond the windbreak of fragrant junipers, is fog-swaddled San Francisco. I imagine walking Lombard Street. Hearing trolleyed clang-clang. Following the scent of magnolia and rhoddies to the botanical park. Lightly-stepping; twirling; dancing. I fall asleep to the sounds of 60s music echoing in my head. “If you’re going to San Francisco, better wear some flowers in your hair.”
Next morning, we pack our lives back into the car, get out the map, and head south-east . . . I wave good-bye to the Golden Gate and dreams.
Fog by Carl Sandburg
The fog comes
on little cat feet.
It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.
This weekly writing challenge runs from Wednesday through Tuesday. If you want to participate, create a pingback to link your post.”
I’m not sure if I’m participating correctly. Via KL Caley’s #writephoto and new2writing blog, I’ve found writers quotes wednesday writer’s challenge (WQWWC), currently hosted by Marsha Ingrao @Always Write.
One theme for this week is fog, reminding me of the Carl Sandburg poem. Which in turn, reminds me of a night spent camping on Mount Diablo, with San Francisco twinkling in the distance. We were on a monumental 6 week move, in the early 1980s, by car, from west coast to east coast. We were broke, staying in campgrounds, pullouts, rest areas, and side roads. Cooking our meals, making our own coffee. Didn’t even spend the money to dry out our soggy sleeping bags in a laundromat. Nearly got arrested more than once and almost attacked by a long-horn bull. Eyed suspiciously by locals, and buffaloes (thank God we wore ball caps!). As we huddled in our tent, checked out by bears, then later on, coyotes, and we’re not sure what the last creature was. Found a stray dog who saved us from the unknown creature. Car broke down numerous times – we managed to fix it ourselves all but once. Took back roads, had adventures, saw amazing things. Didn’t get to San Francisco or Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park. Only spent one day in Yosemite and drove through Yellowstone (one geyser/mud-pot stop). But, got pulled towards Devil’s Tower; saw the Badlands at sunrise; experienced a massive night-time thunderstorm on the High Plains. Watched waves crashing along Great Lakes shores. Almost got zapped by lightening twice in Minnesota/Wisconsin. Crossed the border (US/Canada) several times; got hassled by a guard once.
And, truly, this is how I remember the trip almost 40 years later – as a series of interlocking vignettes. One image calls up another.
A musical memory: