Early morning and first day of the New Year, dinner was already in the bag. The black-eyed peas were cooked and we still had a little smoked turkey from “Tejas” – my Dad’s annual holiday gift. We were ready for our traditional new years pilgrimage to the ocean. The truck easily covered the fifty-mile distance seamlessly crossing the once Spanish and Mexican ranchos — remembered now mostly as streets, colleges, landmarks or towns named for land grants – Peralta, San Pedro, Nicasio, Tomales and de Los Reyes. Sir Francis Drake Boulevard holds some thirty years of memories: the old white horse in the corral just west of Lagunitas (a toy horse perched on the fence has sadly replaced the original); seeing my first Steelhead with Jane in Lagunitas Creek on our bike-camping trip from Santa Rosa to San Francisco; watching the Salmon with Wave as they lay their eggs in redds just below Kent Lake; and the journey to Bolinas in the old VW bug for my first kayaking adventure with Glo, John and Carol.
Before reaching the beach, two mandatory stops are necessary. Ginger & Chocolate-Chocolate-Cherry cookies from the Bovine Bakery are a must: necessary fuel for the hike ahead. Stocking up on our reading materials was another must at the Point Reyes Books. We are members of their Community Supported Bookstore Program a cool new idea inspired by community supported agriculture to help sustain independent book sellers. Supporters make a deposit with the bookstore and draw upon that amount for future purchases. Brilliant! I hope other bookstores start this program! A lover of browsing, I bought my first book of 2012, a volume by the roots music guitarist Ry Cooder: Los Angeles Stories. Looks like my kind of book. Fiction, but the kind of stories you might gather by sitting down with the everyday folks in your community over a cup of coffee and listening to their life; learning about their part in our shared history. Revived both gastronomically and intellectually, we headed on down the road to Limantour Beach to let the ocean ions do their purifying thang. We walked the beach length in the bright sunshine, the waves gently lapping at our feet and the sweet ocean air wafting through us. Later, alone in the truck for a few minutes while Wave lingered to capture a last image of a beautiful day, I queued Mary Gautier’s Mercy Now. As I look to the year ahead may everyone have “ a little mercy now.”