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  #1  
Old 02-04-2018, 03:49 PM
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Default When Worlds Collide











On Saturday, January 27, 2018, I got sent to the old Fritzsche Army Airfield, now the Marina Municipal Airport (OAR), where I got out and looked around. The place felt abandoned. Nobody was around. I put the canopy cover on as the morning sun began delivering the promise of heat across a tarmac that at once held history in its structures while a light breeze sighed vacantly beyond.



I saw an old hangar facility with a sign over a door. It was the pilots’ lounge. I went over there and found it open.



Inside, an American Naval aviator was memorialized to my right.



To my left, the cinder block and turnbuckle-tied structure invited me in. It felt as if nobody had been in that place for a very long time. I wondered why.



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  #2  
Old 02-04-2018, 03:51 PM
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Default The Dream

There was a couch and coffee table, a kitchenette with a microwave, and parked next door, a Gulfstream.





I made a cup of coffee and relaxed on the couch. I decided to start walking toward town and make a day of relaxation on the beach. Outside the coded gate, an historical marker rested before the airport facilities office.



About a quarter mile outside the airport perimeter there was a park bench and a bus stop. There was a bus coming my way soon, and for $2.50, it brought me about three miles down Reservation Road where it dropped me off by a Walmart. From there, I started walking west toward the beach. The sand and the coastal succulents welcomed me.





The parking lot was full of people, but the beach itself seemed sparsely attended. The crash of waves and the cries of children, like the squeak of gulls over the dull thud of a coastline, washed over me.





The tide was low. A northerly walk up the shoreline brought into view a sandscript, etched onto the eroding dune cliffs by passersby whose marks on the world would soon be obliterated by the ravages of time.





Under the cliffs I found a beam of wood where I lay down and surrendered my arms to its length. The warm sand felt like a cradle that rocked me to the pattern of waves thundering below me. It did not take very long for sleep to come.

I dreamt.

I could feel the surging seas beating through me from the far side of the planet—a collective surge of a world being shaken to its core, a raging drumbeat of the elements warring with one another toward an implosion where two worlds collided.

Then I woke up. I walked back to the Walmart and waited with an old man for a bus to show up. Pretty soon, it did.

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  #3  
Old 02-04-2018, 03:53 PM
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Default Heading Home & Coming Back Again

I boarded the bus and sat behind a family. There were four children. The father sat officiously behind the driver as we made our way through Marina and back down Reservation Road heading east.



I got off at Imjin Parkway and walked back to the airport. I saw a small nameless shrine on the west side of the street. I could still feel the raging seas vibrating inside me.



When I got back to the airport, I packed up, strapped in, and took off. I looked down the coast toward Monterey, then banked to the north and flew for Moss Landing. I watched as the waves powdered the shoreline.





At the smokestacks, I cut inland and climbed toward home.



I saw the day coming to an end as I passed over the San Luis Reservoir, the crumpled slopes of the valley’s west side reaching like claws into the depths of the lake.



A week passed. It was time to fly again.

And so it was that on a Friday night, in order to escape the onset of tule fog that was sure to follow the next morning, I flew the same 70 nautical miles west and watched the Salinas Valley slip below my port side wing, the Monterey Bay at my starboard.





A few minutes later, I was on the ground again at Marina. I unpacked my gear, covered up the Dove, and walked back into the pilots’ lounge. The turnbuckle support leaned heavily across the onset of nightfall as I prepared to settle in. A waning full moon bore hazily through the glass.





Then I lay down and went to sleep in there. The next day, collision came.
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  #4  
Old 02-04-2018, 05:37 PM
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Default

I spent a lot of "happy" hours at Ft. Ord back in the day.
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  #5  
Old 02-04-2018, 10:53 PM
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Default Collision Day

I got up. There was a chill in the air and a stiff offshore breeze that cut across the tarmac and sharpened the dawning glow to the east like a blast dome rising over the Salinas Valley.



After eating a light breakfast and acclimating to the day ahead, I walked back over to the bus stop on Reservation Road. I boarded the bus and sat toward the rear.



I soon found myself dropped off at the Fisherman’s Wharf on the coast of Monterey. I wandered through a mall of shops and restaurants as the morning began to take flight.







A candy store pulled me in over the threshold, but I was able to resist a full entry. It was not an easy thing for me to do.



I explored the extent of the mall, then walked along the docks for a time.







The day was clear and bright and warming quickly. I began making my way back to the plaza area. It was time to get some real walking done.

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  #6  
Old 02-04-2018, 10:54 PM
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Default Collision Day

I took the coastal trail heading north and immediately encountered a bronze statue of Santa Rosalia of Palermo, the patron saint of the Italian fishermen who helped give birth to Monterey’s sea harvesting dynasty.



At the U.S. Coast Guard Pier, I took a slight detour to walk along the beach where many people were already mingling in the sand and the sea of the upper reaches. Nearby, however, a team of scuba divers was preparing to enter the underwater world.







Back on the beaten path, I ventured further north on Cannery Row and took in the sights of American history.











The bust of John Steinbeck, the Nobel Prize-winning author, greeted me at the Cannery Row visitor center. Behind the bust rose another bronze sculpture commemorating other notable greats who worked alongside Steinbeck during his career, including Doc Ricketts.

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  #7  
Old 02-04-2018, 10:56 PM
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Default Collision Day

Leaving the visitor center, a short walk further on brought me to the Monterey Bay Aquarium where the old stacks from brick ovens of ages past still rose prominently before a clear blue sky.







It did not take much prodding to get me inside. There was an eagerness and an excitement being expressed by children and adults alike that lured me into the depths of the exhibit without any anguish at all over the cost. There came at once over me a sense of calm, a sense of peace, and with it the wonder that the collision of two mutually inhospitable worlds could come on the heels of such serenity. I found myself standing before a forest of kelp, the sunlight breaking through the aquarium’s surface some thirty feet up.



Not long after, a diver fed the company of fish as he narrated the process over a closed-circuit microphone.



As I began my collision experience, it soon became readily apparent that my seafaring friends bore more resemblance to my human companions than I otherwise would have thought had I not seen them so up-close. Some even reminded me of a few people I knew.



I let the Spirit take me where it would. I was enthralled. I was a child again. It was as if I had been taken into another galaxy where communion with Life itself was at once insatiable yet burgeoning beyond measure.







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  #8  
Old 02-04-2018, 10:57 PM
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Default Collision Day





The simulation of crashing waves overhead drew many to a seafoam-covered tunnel.



The coral expressions of color and vibrancy poured into the soul as if joy itself were contained beyond the walls that separated one world from another. Such joy was being fully rehearsed throughout the exhibit by children of all ages.





The faces of eel stood poised by their own company, and torrential schools of anchovy had more company than could be called a crowd. The silvery skin flashed hysterically with constant and erratic movement at the surface.







At the top floor of the aquarium could be seen the artificial wave pump in action. The pump created the back-and-forth wave action necessary for kelp to survive. Wires strung out over the aquarium surface prevented diving waterfowl from feasting on the fish within.



Preserved within the confines of the exhibit were some cannery ovens from ages past. An Italian fishing boat was suspended in the foreground.

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  #9  
Old 02-04-2018, 10:58 PM
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Default Collision Day

The most astonishing sights were to be had in the Jellyfish section of the aquarium. From Moon Jellyfish, to Cross Jellyfish, to Brown Nettles, close inspection of those incredible creatures revealed an underlying design of such intelligence and beauty that the pulse of life could literally be felt emanating within the tanks. Phosphorescent streams of myriad color and intensity rippled through their bodies, while others pumped umbrella-like through the tanks with no apparent destination in mind—a spectacle beyond belief that filled all of us on the airy side of collision with a mesmerizing awe and wonder.



















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  #10  
Old 02-04-2018, 11:00 PM
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Default Collision Day

The Open Sea aquarium appeared at first glance to be a movie screen with projections of sea life drifting by on occasion. It took an actual close-up encounter to fathom how real the collision could be. Sunfish, sharks, sea turtles, and stingray graced the azure depths in panoramic fashion.







Children learned how to fly using a virtual reality display to simulate the flight of sea birds.



Crabs had a world of their own, as did my tentacled friends; yet the delicate fabric of Life was woven through all of it. The crabs remained aloof and standoffish, while the cuttlefish approached me curiously.







In one moment of collision, I approached an octopus that was comfortably balled-up on some coral. Our eyes met. There was a sudden awakening as the octopus climbed down to have a closer look at me.





Other creatures, changing colors flamboyantly after emerging from their hideouts, ventured steadily, daintily, across the sandy tank bottom.

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