A worn footpath leads away from a weathered horse fence, the white paint mostly chipped-away. Down-slope, Tunitas Creek creeks along its creekbed, unused and dusty after five months of a dry California summer. Rain fell recently, softening the path, freshening the willows and berry leaves. Early fall fullness before the storm winds blow.
Cars stream above, going 70 on a maximum speed posted 45-55, whizzing past the shrine of the motorcyclist who was killed two months ago. He was speeding. The oncoming car was speeding. Then they stopped. That day, when the five or six sirens fled screaming south on Highway 1 to reach the accident scene, I was standing in my kitchen, peeling apples for an apple pie.
The highway bridge above is the fifth or sixth built since the road was first created by Portolá’s men, 240 years ago. This concrete bridge stands taller than previous, and more inland than the ghosts of bridges past indicate. Those concrete bases remain further west along the creek. Any earlier wood bridges have been long washed away. Graffiti illustrates the column bases, not gang writing, but comic designs of funny faces here. On the bridge’s westside, the concrete rails merge into a soldier pile and lagging wall preventing an old landslump from further movement.