I often find myself around cows, sloping around, looking for a place to be. In a field along the Lost Coast, I awoke to one outside my car window, a large black bull whinnying in distress. He must have stumbled through the fog and come across my car, frightened by the harsh piece of metal. Tight-chested, I crawled into the driver’s seat, left my spot while the stars were still out. I didn’t stop driving, drove through the ranches winding upward. I felt the sun sloping up the opposite hillside.
I was driving north to see an old friend. I stopped at a beach. I’d forgotten to lock my car.
I thought about, of all things, my scarf, a woolen white one with stark navy stripes, an artifact of my personal archaeology. Worn along the edges, perhaps from dragging across rough terrain. Bits of sand, burrs. Never washed.
I left the thought and watched the ocean again, feeling naked.
Not just the beauty but the brutality of it:
The sea anemones barricading the rocks
The starfish like roaming hands tearing at things in shells
The seagulls prowling above (nothing escapes their sight)
The surfer at the edge, facing out
Sleeping on remote roads makes you aware of fear. It’s not abstract, like it is in the city. In my mind I saw a black bear roaming.
It was all there, the whole forest. I was face-to-face with it.