Flash in the Pan
A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights
Spring In Alta California
by Gareth Sadler
What majestic landscapes Alta California provides. On a bright crisp day in late March, the road from Santa Rosa to Bodega Bay is a true Camino Real, a royal pathway for us, just as it once was for the Spaniards. Its route leads us through the redwood groves with their deep shade, along wide sunny vineyards, past green fields with grazing cows, hedges of golden gorse, trees twisted by the winds. And then to the bay.
The water is flat calm. Above us on the deck at the Tides Restaurant the gulls tile and circle endlessly, and on the bay the mergansers plunge, only to resurface as suddenly.
Then the seals appear, swimming in unison like Olympic teammates, raising their snouts to probe the air, then slipping under. One sees only hints of their presence, just their shadow gliding. We are left with just a memory, an impression, an illusion. Then they are gone on their secret course.What shall we call them? Lions form a pride. Crows make a murder. An illusion of seals?
I think of Father Serra and his travels in Alta California. The countryside has altered since the 1770s, with fences and all. But the Father would have rejoiced in the bright days of spring, stood under the same redwoods, and watched the seals gliding on their quiet way.
Gary Sadler served as editor of his high school newspaper, went on to see duty on a Navy attack transport in the Pacific as well as duty as California's Savings and Loan Commissioner under Governor Pat Brown. Throughout it all, he's maintained an interest in writing.
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