Eureka – Finding California

The Land – part 3

Stand Off.

In my mind it was neither here nor there, city nor country.  Where I came from was the nowhere that lies between them.  Suburbia.  Where the endlessly identical shopping centers sold your life back to you every other weekend at half-price.  I’d look to the horizon and wonder what it would be like to be somewhere, anywhere, where real things happened to real people.  I suppose I could’ve gone anywhere, or even stayed put, and realized that it was all just life unfolding, no more, no less. But I didn’t stay put, I went North.

I was drawn to the land there. It was alive and untamed. Unpaved, undeveloped, unpasteurized for human consumption.  I knew I’d found what I was looking for on one of the first trips I’d taken up the coast looking for surf.  There we’re a few of us who’d pile into the car and headed north to see what we’d find at the end of the road. We drove until the pavement ended and turned into a gravel road. We drove until the gravel stopped and gave way to hard-packed dirt. We drove through creeks up to the doors until the dirt road ended. We figured that would be a good place to get out and have a look at the surf which was just over a few small dunes.  A creek came down from the mountains here and dispersed itself in a fan out into the dunes. We made our way along a finger of dry ground, hoping for passage to the dunes and surf beyond.

Coming around a corner we were confronted by a big burly local.  He stood there facing us, but apparently much less concerned about our presence than we were about his.  No words were spoken, we just stood and stared for a few moments.  The local, standing up to his ankles in the murky water then surprised us all, when he exhaled and began to relieve himself right there in the water. One of the guys figured that since he was busy and seemed unconcerned he’d just try to calmly walk past him on the narrow patch of dry ground. He was about 3 feet away when the local put his head down and began to charge him with a rack on his head the size of a shopping cart.  I’ve never seen my buddy move that fast since then. The four legged local backed off quickly, uninterested in the chase. He’d made his point.  We went back to the car and drove back the way we came in.

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