“Well, yeah!! I was just trying to get up the enthusiasm to don my pumpkin suit and go trick or treating!” My comment received her familiar laugh…
“Great. Meet me at the office at about 4pm and you can ride up with me. We plan to put in at Nick’s Cove in Marshall at 4:30pm. Wear a fleece and some warm socks. I’ve got everything else for you.”
|Tomales Bay Sunset|
Photo by Alia Pasquale
Coming around the island, in the middle of the bay, we saw a strange sight. A great Blue Heron was standing ON the water, not wading near shore, but in the middle of the bay. We gave him a wide berth, but perplexed as we tried to figure out his illusion. Floating near us there was a small cluster of bull kelp, a species seldom seen in the bay, but often found in large piles on ocean beaches. These stragglers could have floated in from the ocean, over the sandbar at the mouth, and into the bay. Seems the Heron was standing on a slightly submerged knot of kelp.
The light was slowly fading as we approached White Gulch, on the opposite shore. We cruised in and out of all the nooks, crannies, and caves along the bluff. They pointed out all manner of sea life: Sea anemones gently swaying their fronds to capture food, gorgeous, graceful brown jellyfish pulsing their way along in calm waters, bright star fish and one ethereal white moon jelly. The guide explained that river otters often hang out by the small caves near the bluff.
We paddled toward a small white beach and we pulled ashore. Laurie and the guide pulled out a table and a delightful repast of grapes, chocolate cherry cookies, almond pastries, a three-fruit buckle, and best of all, mugs of steaming hot chocolate.
The night sky was upon us and millions of stars were blooming in the black velvet. Because the water was so calm, every star was reflected therein. Our entire world – sky and water – was a tapestry of golden lights. Behind us, one single elk stood on the hill, silhouetted against the waning light. A huge lone, silent owl flew over us, so low you could feel the rush of the wind from his wings. Having just recently lost my beloved, I smiled, assuming it was his spirit, wishing us well.
Returning to the kayaks, the instant my paddle touched the water, I gasped. I was paddling in molten mercury! In quick silver! I thrust my hand into the water: gloves, jacket and all, wet, just to stir the water with my hand. Everyone was doing the same. We had been conversing in whispers. Not anymore. Everyone was uttering “oohs” and “ahhs” of delight! Then, it got better! EVERYTHING beneath the water was etched in silver and neon green! We could see the sea lettuce and kelp sway beneath. Big, little, wee tiny fish, swimming this way and that…shooting past us, beneath us, in front of us…leading us on their path of silver and brilliant green. Behind us, our wakes were a trail of silver. I scooped up a paddle full of glowing sea lettuce and dropped it back into the water, in a shower of sliver – and laughed aloud.
There was no reason to hurry. We were allowed to wander about (everyone had a red glow stick attached to their kayak for safety). We separated, came together, separated, awestruck!! Where to look? The star strewn black velvet sky? The silver and neon streaked bay, glittering with reflected golden stars? Somehow, it all blended together, it was difficult to see where the horizon line actually was. We were drifting and rotating in a gigantic illuminated bubble. Nobody wanted the evening to end.
As we slowly made our way across Tomales Bay, past the sleep murmurs of the critters on the darkened Hog Island, to the landing at Nick’s Cove…thoroughly relaxed, enchanted, soul satisfied, spirit uplifted, and completely mesmerized by the peace and beauty of it all.
I think I can safely say, that none of us will ever forget this evening as long as we live. None of us will be swept up in life to the extent that this evening doesn’t still dance behind our eyes…in our souls.