Day 2 in California: April 15, 2022

It’s fairly easy for me to wake up this morning, which is probably due to a combination of the time difference and the deep, deathlike sleep I had last night. I think I’m still recovering from the longer-than-expected travel experience yesterday.

Calla lilies spotted on my morning walk

I start the day by walking to Caffè la Scala in Walnut Creek to meet up with Marcus, my dear friend from college who, like Katie and Azzi, I haven’t seen in a mind-boggling five years. It is so weird and so good to see him again, like time collapsing in on itself. It has simultaneously been several lifetimes and five seconds since we were sitting on a bench talking about poetry or tossing a disc on the Emory quad. We sit over our tea and breakfast in the courtyard (unlike yesterday, today looks like it’s going to be beautiful) and talk for two lovely hours.

Nourished and mildly caffeinated, I meet back up with Katie and Azzi for lunch at Jo’s Honda Sushi, where we are transported to another realm of deliciousness. The unagi? Swoon. It’s been a minute since I had truly great sushi.

How basic is it to order a spicy California roll in California? Don’t care. It was great.

Katie and I, plus their dog Lilo, take a long and gorgeous drive to Fort Funston, where there is a beach that allows puppers to go leash-free. The walk down to the shore is littered with yellow- and purple-flowered succulents. A quick scan through my PictureThis app tells me that they are hottentot figs, and are apparently invasive? But they are so very lovely on the undulating dunes dotting the hillside.

Flowering hottentot figs! (According to my app anyway)

The Pacific Ocean is freezing, but I walk in it anyway. The waves roar. There is hardly a cloud in the sky. It’s windy, of course, but not as bad as I was expecting. Katie, Lilo, and I stroll along the beach, picking up a sand dollar or crab shell here and there.

Kilo and Katie on the beach at Fort Funston

As I stand in the water looking westward, I remember that it is Good Friday. I’m struck by a wave of wistfulness. I’m glad to be here with my friends, preparing for the trail and enjoying the Bay, but I regret not being home for Holy Week. Then again, I’m standing here in freezing cold water absolutely surrounded by the Divine. They are roaring in my ears. They are the smell of saltwater and distance. I close my eyes and pray for a moment. And then we walk back to the car.

We make two more stops on our scenic tour of the Bay Area: Land’s End, where there was once a labyrinth that is now just a heart (because people kept messing up the labyrinth), and Battery Spencer, perhaps the best view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Both are beautiful, though Land’s End is quieter.

There used to be a labyrinth here, but now it’s a big heart

I can’t get over how perfect the day is. I can see the city in all its sprawling clustered splendor. I can see what I think is the Berkeley Campanile across the bay. I can see so far out into the ocean. I love mountains, but there is nothing like so much water before you.

Yours truly at the Battery Spencer view. Can you believe how clear the day was?

Our night after that is pretty chill: we pick up Azzi (who apparently had to check out a boat?), eat a quick dinner at the Walnut Creek Boudin, then head back to the apartment for a movie. Naturally, I fall asleep almost as soon as the movie starts.

The Golden Gate peeking through the trees on our way down to Land’s End
The beach at Land’s End
Lots of sand dollars at Fort Funston

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