Picnic Area at Tomales Bay
Point Reyes National Seashore
Today, the picnic area at Tomales Bay north of San Francisco was quiet, no locals or tourists, just two sets of couples hiked through. When I was a kid growing up in Daly City, a suburb on the borderline of San Francisco, our family had barbecues here in the winter. It was usually foggy, mist drenched our clothes, and our fingers turned pink from the cold. Why go to the bay in the winter? Winter was clam digging season. My dad and uncles would dig huge holes in the ink dark sand. My sisters, cousins and I jumped into the dug outs, picking the clams off the sides of the holes before the sand rained down on top of us. When dark started to fall, we hauled our buckets full of clams to the ranger where he checked their measurements with a metal circle to make sure they were big enough.
Up at the picnic area (photo above) looking out over Tomales Bay, my parents would fire up the coals, butter the sourdough for toast while the clams cleaned themselves of sand in the saltwater before being steamed for dinner. We would shiver in our puffy jackets, starving, waiting for paper plates to be handed out for servings of steamed clams and garlic bread.
The weather for wintertime couldn\’t be more perfect today. There was no breeze, hardly a cloud in the sky. I ate my picnic lunch, an eggplant sandwich grilled on a ciabatta roll with a small salad of beet greens, candied cranberries and balsamic vinegar. I was surprised that I didn\’t get overcome by sadness. I thought of Scott and talked to him remembering the sandy cove where we set out our chairs near the water, the days we spent at the bay reminding me of Hawaii, and the meals we shared at the picnic tables on the beach. I never know when the waves of grief will hit me. When the tears run down my face and the pain digs a hole in my heart. Today, a peace embraced me. A knowing that we live in a timeless world, that I am forever connected to Scott and our love for each other, our love for nature, for simple moments. I let the memories of my childhood and Scott wash over me and I let myself feel the peace.