Looking north from the headlands of Point Bonita on a crisp spring afternoon, the Marin coast does indeed seem dressed for a day on the town – or at least an afternoon at the beach.
The bluffs book-ending Rodeo Beach sport an outfit rich with reds and yellows, courtesy of fresh clusters of ice plant. Beyond, the verdant undulations of Wolf Ridge march curvaceously upward. The Pacific, frothy from a stiff on-shore breeze, strives repeatedly to connect with Rodeo Lagoon, but never succeeds in breaching the beach between them.
Amid this array of natural wonders are the remains of Fort Cronkhite, tidy rows of red-roofed buildings that remind us of this tranquil setting’s more hostile past. In the 1940s, when the world was at war, an Army garrison lived on the fort’s 800 acres. The soldiers manned massive guns that pointed west and could propel a one-ton shell 30 miles out to sea —farther than the Farallon Islands—with the intent of repelling any invader that came California’s way.
Today, where uniformed men once walked with bayonets fixed, marine mammals are saved, raptors are observed and the sounds of children, visiting for camps, mingle with the endless serenade of the surf. Here is a sword beaten soundly into a ploughshare.
Looking north from the headlands of Point Bonita on a crisp spring afternoon, so much can be seen—the variegation of nature, the fallibilities of humankind, the promise of renewal. That’s a lot to ask a photograph to display. It’s simpler to look at the burst of color, the patchwork palette assembled by man and nature, and say: “Let’s party! Spring is here!