Thursday, September 10, 2009


i drove much of the second part of this trip along the river countless times when ann & i were in the odiyan monastery. odiyan was northeast of jenner, up on a ridge the overlooks the pacific ocean. when i first went there nearly 15 years ago, some of the mountain roads were still unpaved. the drive is quite beautiful, one of those classic california road trips that takes you through so many different geological terrains: river basin, hills & meadows, redwood forests, craggy mountain cliffs, formidable ocean rock formations, ocean.

ann isn't as crazy for this drive as i am. she got a ticket once somewhere between rio nido & monte rio. they've got speed traps set up all along the twisty roads leading up to jenner.

we were sitting in the blue heron bar & grill in duncans mills & i said, "it seems like a lifetime ago when we were living out here." ann replied, "several lifetimes."

"The Russian River springs from the Laughlin Range about 5 mi (8 km) east of Willits in Mendocino County. It flows generally southward to Redwood Valley, then parallels U.S. Route 101 past Calpella, to join the East Fork Russian River just below Lake Mendocino.

From there the Russian River flows south, past Ukiah and Hopland, and crosses into Sonoma County just north of Cloverdale. Closely paralleled by U.S. Route 101, it descends into the Alexander Valley, where it is joined by Big Sulphur Creek. It flows south past Cloverdale, Asti, and Geyserville.

it had been a beautiful sunny day, typical of this time of year in north california(where our summers really don't start until september). again, typically, when we got out towards the coast we could see the fog clinging to the cliffs at the higher elevations & once we got to the river mouth, it was beginning to sweep in at sea level. usually, there are large numbers of seals playing in the river & sea lions luxuriating on the banks of the river & the sea. i'd never NOT seen them there when i invariably stopped to watch the river & the ocean meet but ann insisted their presence was seasonal. since they weren't there, i pretty much had to agree. the view seemed much more desolate & forlorn w/o them.

East of Healdsburg, Maacama Creek joins the Russian River. After a series of sweeping bends, the river flows under U.S. Route 101 and receives water from Lake Sonoma via Dry Creek. The river then turns westward and joins Mark West Creek north of Forestville. The river passes Rio Dell, Rio Nido, and Guerneville, where it meets State Route 116. Paralleled by State Route 116, it continues past Guernewood Park and Monte Rio. Austin Creek enters from the north before passing through Duncans Mills then the Russian River flows under State Route 1 and empties into the Pacific Ocean between Jenner and Goat Rock Beach. Its mouth is about 60 mi (100 km) north of the San Francisco Bay's Golden Gate." wikipedia quote in boldface.

i've always loved liminal places, places where one specific thing meets & mingles w/another: river mouths, passes & cuts, deltas. we used to surf at ft pickens pass & destin pass & at the jetty over at alabama point. philip & i saw what had to be a 18'+ hammerhead shark riding a big swell at alabama point. that was the end of that day's surfing. i've always wanted to drive south from new orleans, into the bayous & down towards the delta. in tibetan buddhism, liminal places are called "bardos" & the main goal of meditation is training the mind to be calm & w/o desire as it passes through interim states of being, primarily the one between life & death.

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