I last posted about the incredible light show atop Marin and promised photographs of the sunrise—and here they are!
We climbed the dirt path through fragrant scrubland in near darkness, short of breath and mistaking the higher ridge lines for cloud banks. I hoped to see the upper reaches of the city and the Golden Gate Bridge penetrating the fog layer. Venus rose in the East and burned brightly through the mist. The encroaching dawn flushed with amber upon the horizon and the great orange bridge bleated its one note song through the cold and the wind and the white breath of the Pacific. Our lungs filled and our feet soaking, were parishioners in that oldest of churches, waiting for sunrise to bloody the drenched chaparral.
The marine layer pours inland from the frigid waters of the California current to haunt the colorful neighborhoods of San Francisco. Like the water below, the sea above is channeled thorough the narrow strait by the massive headlands. What remains is pushed up, up and over Marin, creating an bitter cold, dense and wet fog that flows over the
land like a river bursting its levee. Facing east, our backs were soaked through within ten minutes. After an hour we could empathize with the manzanita and other scrubland denizens whose leaves and stems flowed everywhere with water and wore great pearls of dew like gaudy jewels.
Just in time, as the world shed the blues of twilight for the reds of daybreak, the drifts of fog began to recede and exposed the lower reaches of the headlands—fellow ships at sea in an ocean of resplendent vapor. I worked for a few precious moments on the slopes turned grassy riverbed to document the twisted and craggy brushland, decorated in its luminous regalia of dew, against the backdrop of radiant fog and ruddy, soft light. For as long as I live, when I wish to remember the most splendid of sunrises, I will plunge my hands into that brilliant, frigid collection of memories and pull out Marin, the rusty marine layer, and the morning when we didn’t see the bridge.