It was way past dark. We stumbled recklessly down a dirt clod hill towards the southern edge of Angel Island. There were ruts and branches to look out for and the skipping patches of light from our headlamps only momentarily illuminated the treacherous deep washes where rain had cut through the loose dirt and run unencumbered into the bay. Once we got to the water’s edge I stood still finally. It took some mental effort not to keep stepping right into the water. With the tips of my shoes just at the edge of the tiny waves running up and flopping onto the rocky beach I gradually dislocated from the awareness of the hill, and the campsite, and the mountain behind me which rose up to the peak of the island. With nothing but water immediately in front of me I felt dislodged from the ground and slightly elevated.
Like standing at the edge of a tiny planet, looking out across a small expanse of open space towards the amazing sight of thousands of softly shimmering lights. The air was blowing in gently off of the bay waves and I was reassured periodically by a warm highlight within the cool breeze.
The ships in the harbors of San Francisco, Sausalito, and Oakland were moaning from their ports.
The ship’s horns coated the entire bay in a soupy layer of lonely sound. Pushing up against our chests and then gliding shadow like out through the Golden Gate and disappearing into the Pacific like a grey whale being swallowed slowly by the distant dark water.
In front of us in one full panoramic view was the entire expanse of San Francisco Bay from the Berkeley Pier to the Marin Headlands. Two massive bridges extending left and right from the nest of city lights huddled within the hills and valleys of San Francisco.