Why the Deer Died
I was standing at the counter of an auto body shop, fighting back tears and waiting to be helped. The night before, I had had an unexpected meeting with a deer. My car was slightly damaged, but the damage to the deer was a lot worse. I am an animal lover of the first degree and I had never killed anything before. I was having a hard time coming to grips with my feelings.
The man behind the counter was talking to a customer and the conversation had turned to the high surf warnings the news stations were broadcasting. The customer was a surfer and he was assuring the man behind the counter that he did not venture in to the kind of waters that were expected to hit the Northern California coast that day.
Interested in spite of myself, I ventured a question in the direction of the surfer. "Where is the best place to view the big waves around here?" I asked. Of course, I knew of Mavericks, the famous surfing beach south of San Francisco, but that was an hour and a half away and the big waves broke a quarter mile off shore. I was looking for something local and a bit more accessible. The surfer thought a minute, and told me that Bodega Head would be a good spot to try.
Bodega Head. That was only fifteen miles or so from my home. As many times as I had been in the town of Bodega Bay, I had never taken the drive out to the point. That day I made my first pilgrimage to Bodega Head.
These thoughts were going through my mind two months later as I again sat out on the rocky point, watching huge waves roll in and crash against the bluffs. How many times did this make? Ten? Fifteen? Bodega Head had become a favorite destination of mine. Today, there was a strong off-shore wind blowing against the sea, causing the giant waves to sharpen to a knife's edge and throw a rooster's tail of spray high in the air like white flames, before the water folded and smashed against itself with the sound of a canon shot. Not all waves sound like canons though. Some waves have a sharp, cracking sound, like a large caliber rifle, and some waves fold over gently and blend with themselves before any sound can be made other than the constant, rumbling roar of the white water rushing to meet the bluffs. I found that I could not tell by the size and shape of the wave what type of voice it would show. A big wave would come and I would expect a huge boom, only to watch it melt into itself while the smaller wave behind it would give a sharp retort that could be felt as well as heard.
There is something intoxicating about the sea. I was reminded of the oft-heard remark, "God is in the details." If matter is made up of atoms and molecules, God is the glue that holds them together. God is not some father figure, "up there" somewhere, when he's not hanging out in church. God is the voice of the wave. God is the spray shooting off the edge of the wave. God is the cry of the gull, wheeling overhead. God is the steering wheel of your car. God is the voice of a surfer suggesting I go to Bodega Head to watch waves.
I know now why the deer died.