Flash in the Pan
A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights
A Weekend At The Point Reyes Lifeboat Station
by Susan Bono
Through the other windows of the lifeboat station you may see a grassy hillside or a short stony beach lumpy with brown boulders that turn out to be elephant seals, but here, at 7 a.m. in the long empty room facing Drake's Bay on the last morning of your stay, your view is full of waves crawling endlessly. As the water scrolls past with only the weathered wooden railing of the boat launch ramp showing in the lower right hand corner of the glass, thoughts of what it means to live on land fade like yesterday's dreams. You realize the wind, which pounded all night like men's booted feet on a wooden dance floor, has finally blown the lifeboat station free of its moorings, and now, as the early sun glows white in the salt coating the east-facing windows, you are sailing northeast, not due west toward open ocean as your body persist in believing, but homeward toward the sheltering body of North America.
Many ships, including Sir Francis Drake's, have skillfully navigated these currents, but your wooden vessel plows the waves with such weighted grace that the coffee in your cup remains motionless and the sliced cake cliffs ahead of you keep their distance. At this rate, it would take more than a thousand years for the prow of the lifeboat station to nose into the opening of Drake's Estero six miles away. You decide you really don't have the time to make that trip, but when you carry your bags through the green door just off the kitchen, glad to find your parked car still only a few steps away, the distance you travelled during the night as you slept will be added to your driving time. You will hardly notice as you follow the black ribbon road back the way you came four days earlier, but it will take you the rest of your life to reach home.
Susan Bono is grateful to be still at sea while technically home in Petaluma, CA.
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