Letters from the road: Salt Point dispatch

Well, clearly I didn’t go to art school. It’s a little hard to tell what all these drawings are. 02: Great Lakes shoreline. 03: Wildflowers. 04: “Cornelius” the mascot. 05: Rock formation and clouds. 07: Highway 50, sun, and a UFO.

This is a little sketch of Kaida lounging in a meadow at Salt Point State Park on the Northern California Coast. We’re in I think Sonoma County, an hour or two or three north of San Francisco, and it was tricky work sketching Kaida because her head kept moving as she listened to various sounds from nearby woods. There’s a bit of a fog bank or cloud moving through, and depending on how thick it is an any given moment the trees on the other side of the meadow look either green or gray or blackish-greenish-gray.

This is my first real hike since the pig attack that landed me in the hospital two weeks ago, and I’m perking up at about half of the forest sounds to make sure they aren’t announcing the presence of an angry boar. I can hear traffic on Highway One way down below — I’m up high on a hill — and earlier there were these weird, distant, metal-on-metal noises and a few gunshots. Every once in a while there’s the sound of the wind picking up.

It’s between 10:45 and 11:00 a.m. right now, and it’s getting to be time that I should think about picking up and driving to a new campsite. I talked to another Vanagon owner and he suggested a beach that’s maybe 90 miles up the coast from here. I’m not sure what else to say here. This is my first full day of travel since leaving the Bay Area, and my brain feels foggy and tired.

Mike: Ben, how do you find inner peace?

Ben: I don’t.

Mike: Can you recommend any substitutes?

Ben: No, I think you’d want it, but I think activity is the closest thing you’d get to that. Activity with the feeling toward forward progress.

Mike: How do you find the motivation for that activity. Is it something you either have or you don’t?

Ben: I think when you lack an overriding goal in life, you can have calm and a sense of progress when you’re always moving forward.

Mike: Do you believe in free will?

Ben: Depends on what version of free will people talk about. The answer is sometimes yes and sometimes no.

Mike: Do you think that we live in an entirely deterministic universe? Excluding small-scale quantum stuff.

Ben: Yes.

Mike: Are dogs the best?

Ben: Yup.

Mike: Double bass or double guitar?

Ben: Double guitar.

Mike: Electric violin, or playing an electric guitar with a violin bow?

Ben: Electric violin. Great question.

Mike: Anything else you’d like to sound off on?

Ben: No.


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