Recently I took a trip up to San Francisco with my roommates. They were attending a History of Science conference for school, and I was looking to meet up and hang out with people I’d only ever met online, and see a city I’d never seen. I had a good time, met folks, went out for coffee, was given the foot tour of downtown, got to attend a bardic circle of venerable Berkeley hippies reciting poetry (I want to be that when I grow old, really), and have a general good time. There are a few vibes in SF that I’m not so cool with, but I was mainly there for the people I know.
On the way back we took the scenic route. I was driving and we started to move into the mountains of Central California, and the beauty of the scene around me started to unfold and expand. Because I have serious problems with vertigo, I had to pull over and let someone else drive, so I found an observation point with a little ranger station type place and got out.
And wept. Not just dropped a few tears, actively lost it sobbing. I called my girlfriend and could barely speak (all she cared about was that it was happy tears).
I’ve been a lot of places, and I’ve seen a lot of things, but I’ve never seen anything as beautiful in this world as Pacheco Pass. It reminds me of my own visions of Vanaheim when I’ve seen it on falcon’s wing journeys – rolling hills of gold and green, deep calm water, misty distance, bright flowers… I’ve taken some picture and they do it no justice.
Pacheco Pass by the San Luis dam is where I want my ashes scattered. I’d live there if there was somewhere near there to live, but I wouldn’t want to mar the landscape with a house. Fortunately there’s a KOA campground not too far away and it’s only a 3 hour or so drive from me…
And there I am in the backseat glowing in the aftermath. I would do anything to live or work near there. I’d leave behind a lot to look around every day and see that soul-wrenching beauty, listen to that deep quiet, get lost in that misty distance…
This is the closest it comes to heaven on earth for me. My earthly Vanaheim.