// Jennifer Frederick //
My former ex took me camping near Mount Tamalpais for Valentine's Day. California's northern coast is even more gloriously melancholy than it is notoriously cold. When we were there, the actual temperature was mild, but everything felt on the brink of rain. Soft, opaque mist blended the ocean into the sky; the horizon was like a fold of moire fabric.
// $14.99 on Etsy //
Wave-soaked rocks provided a harsh contrast to the pale expanse of ocean. On the cliffs above the shore, ice plants spread out like residue from a particularly strong sunset.
// Stephen Gao //
I wish I could find words to evoke the feeling of vastness: so much water and so much air. Although where we stayed wasn't true wilderness. Aside from the cluster of cabins, there was a well-walked path to our campsite, and when the fog burned off we could see San Francisco. But clambering down to the deserted beach was enough isolation for us.
We certainly weren't alone! I almost stepped on an orange-bellied newt that was wriggling on the ground like a silly drunk. Indignant ravens woke us up and chased a hawk out of their territory. While going to refill a water bottle, I glimpsed a coyote leaping through the brush. Best of all was the pod of dolphins who drew slow arcs in the seaspray with their dorsal fins.
// Frank Galusha //