The Booming Tunnel

The clouds move in and the day moves on into the late afternoon. There is little going on at the office at the moment, and I am left to the company of my thoughts.

I am traveling back in my mind, as I often do, to Ocean Beach. I need to walk the sands and feel the wind wash my body of the anxiety and stress of the week. The green grey water is thundering up to the cliffs as foam washes over the rocks and sand. At the Sutro ruins, I sit cross-legged on a pitted cement platform and pull my sweater-coat tighter around me, head bowed into a big, wool-y Buddha ball.

Looking at the platform, I notice that there are grains of sand blowing past me, tumbling like tiny boulders into the cracks and valleys of the damaged concrete. Rust bleeds out from the old rebar and bolts that once held the bath house girders in place. It runs down these crumbling bones, spilling out onto the abandoned pool below. The wind is picking up, howling now with its watery breath and wearing away the packed sand walls and tiny caves. The sea spray flies at it hits the old breaker wall. The gulls are crying out the message of rough water and the arrival of the first storm of winter. Part of me breaks away and cries with them, keening and ancient song of the dead.

I needed to go to the place I ran to as a child for comfort, perhaps to make sense of it all somehow. I’ve done it for decades now…more times than I can possibly count. This time, I let the sand slip through my fingers making a gauze-y sheet that disappears as it flairs out into the wind.  My weary memories with it; shadow faint, fleeting, gone.

It’s time to say good-bye and come back to the land of the living.



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