Fear and the Marin Headlands (Part 1)

When I left to go to the Marin Headlands, every ‘voice’ said “no, don’t go, stay at home where it’s safe and familiar, don’t do something because something will go wrong.” I know it sounds a bit pathetic, but it took all my focus to start the car and work my way down to the highway.
It had been so long since I visited the place I actually entered the wrong battery tunnel and questioned if I had made up all those memories of the Lascaux horses and the Tunnel Singer. I questioned my memories and my ability to retain even the slightest important bit of data. Fear! After all, my mother died from Alzheimer’s Disease, why shouldn’t I be afraid, right? But once I was in the second tunnel, I knew I had been correct. I knew it was okay.
Up there in the Headlands, the only human sounds come from far away: the sound of aircraft heading out across the Pacific or cars driving by on the park road, oblivious to the wonder they had passed. My favorite sound has always been the rush of wind through pine needles, creating something that recalls a flowing river. There is plenty of wind and trees up there.
The other human intrusion on this perfect solitude is the ubiquitous San Francisco fog horn. Plural: fog horns. Bellowing, shouting, singing out of tune to one another under the blanket of white fog that managed to blot out much of the land and water. There are moments where they are the only sound piercing the air and reverberating through your body. One gets used to them though and they fade into the background of the mind.
Two ravens, huge ravens, perched in front of a bench they fearlessly allowed me to sit on. No more than six feet away and I wished I could reach out to touch them. Nothing scared them: not me, not the charming older couple taking their daily hike hand in hand, not the tourist family so focused on the Bridge that they didn’t see the corvines. Those ravens, together or apart, seemed like a perfect pairing. They also seemed to be the only ravens around that morning. Perhaps it was their call that welcomed me as I climbed up the hill.
I found a perfect little spot, located on a flat just above the battery #1 gun emplacement (now flooded and long ago made harmless) for writing, thinking, listening … okay, mostly thinking. I have been filled with the notion that I must do what I am afraid of doing. I must challenge or embrace the very things that tell me to run away. I must not be limited. I cannot survive only – there must be glory even if (as may be likely) I am the only one who knows it. Up there, in the Headlands, such thinking is easy. Without the chaos and demand of daily life, such thoughts tend to be simple and free, moving about your head. So now I have the ‘what’ I need to do, the question of ‘how’ still remains elusive.

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