Bit by bit, my memories of Berkeley are vanishing. I can justify that this phenomenon is, at worst, neutral: the daily grind and the stupid time I missed the bus vanish, and only the weekends watching the sunset from the Berkeley Hills remain. Not to be trite: this empty, early-morning, fog-shrouded, post-apocalyptic view of the campanile is now my memory of the place, as well as an operational metaphor for that memory… If that’s not too obtuse.
Rolling over in a strange hotel bed, in an an unfamiliar city, at 5:30 AM: not the time most conducive to photographic adventure. Seeing these dramatic clouds over Mirror Lake, and their drastic shadows, was enough to get me moving. Still, I ran into a problem rare on the west coast: it was so much warmer and more humid outside that I had to work quickly before the lens fogged.
Not far from Muir Woods, the Pacific coast cliffs of California are a starker, steeper, and foggier place than I expected. The nearly sheer cliff face, the scraggly trees hanging on for dear life, and the weather- (and person-) beaten railings make the whole place feel mythical. The fog density hit just the right soupiness on this particular day; we could just barely see and hear the waves crashing on the rocks below.
On the recent trip to Muir woods we took a trip over to an old coastal battery turned park overlooking the ocean. Well, not much really overlooks the coast on a foggy morning like this. It sort of makes one wonder how effective these overlooks were, at least early in the morning. Almost makes you wonder what’s hiding out there in the fog.
Even if it is more Silent Hill than Far Cry the view is a neat one.
Early in the morning, before another human has arisen, in the fog and rain and the sound of crashing California surf, the cliffs of Marin are strange and alien and haunting. They stagger out of the fog, all stunted shrubs and jagged rocks and decaying 20th century gun emplacements. I’ve always rather fancied the idea that America kept expanding until they reached the end of the continent, where the cliffs and the alien landscape drove us all a bit mad.