poetry, all of it: birdsong liturgies of muir woods, a cathedral of trees. fog tangled in branches. sweater weather in summer. our rose-cheeked boy, toes in the sand, voice ever raised in song. joy in traveling as a family -- in circling a place on a map and calling it there. a fiftieth birthday. ice cream cones billowing with strawberries and sheep cheese custard. the drive to big sur, all van morrison and hills thick with wildflowers. asilomar beach -- where my father taught his grandson to skip rocks. dimpled hands bringing me posies under cypress trees. the tumble of waves-on-rocks in half moon bay. big, beautiful breakfasts -- biscuits and rosemary potatoes and decadent french toast at plow, egg and homemade sausage on brioche at outerlands. memory of california last, how my tum curved like a soup spoon, how unbelievable to think we had not yet seen his face. redwoods -- they are so many beautiful things but mostly they are one deep breath after another. the haunting and mysterious beauty of sutro baths. seeking coffee and a playground in the sunset, getting to know the neighborhood like locals. the houseboats of sausalito, like a string of prayer flags, like birds on a wire. a sunday drive in sonoma, walking gundlach bundschu vineyard row by row, ducking into the girl and the goat for sweet wine and salty cheeses. rising before the sun, all seven of us, to drive east in search of yosemite, wild for her waterfalls and swimming holes. how bright the stars shimmered. how low the sun dipped. how near the moon felt. northern california -- a world of salt and vine and rock and god.