The small town of Mendocino sits on a bluff above the Pacific Ocean on the Northern California coast. Getting there means driving along roads that wind through rolling hills and cut through Redwood forests. The breezes wash the coastal areas with soft salty air. The weather patterns mimic those of San Francisco: usually foggy and cold, especially in the summer time, but are always able to change quickly from mist to sun and back again. I lived in Mendocino during the early 1970’s and it was a favorite get-a-way place for the twenty years I lived in the Napa Valley during the 1980-90s.
My son Kyle, has “his” cove that sits just to the South of Mendocino. It’s a wide sandy beach and full of ocean-sculpted driftwood. It can be accessed only by a steep set of sand covered wooden stairs. It was a favorite place to let Fraser, our Australian Shepherd named for our Clan, run (constantly herding all the other dogs on the beach).
“My” cove sits to the West, across the Headlands from the town. Fully covered in sea rocks, it requires a steep climb down narrow paths cut through the packed sand of the cliffs. Once down to the shore’s edge, away from the wind, it’s quiet and peaceful, and usually hidden from the rest of the world by the surrounding fog.
I have a poster-sized photograph that I took to enter in to a competition that’s titled “Mendocino Mist”. I took it while standing in the rain looking South across the water and the bridge as I stood just off Main Street. We used to love walking around the town in the misty rain and then finding a fire to warm ourselves.
Kyle and I flew in to Glasgow on our first trip to Scotland. As we drove out through the soft rain, winding on forested country roads toward Largs and the farm where we would spend our first night, Kyle said, “I know why we both love Mendocino so much….it’s cellular memory.”
I got tears in my eyes at the realization of it. I think he did, too, because all I heard for the next few minutes was the swishing of the windshield wipers.