I feel like I left the tyranny of irony behind me at Tomales Bay. I can only be vague here, but I think most would agree that I am adept at irony, maybe even a mistress of it. The picture above is of an old, abandoned building at the Marconi Conference Center. We walked by this beautiful building several times a day, from the hours just after dawn when northern California mists floated in and around it, to the blackest hours after the sun had set when bats swooped, invisible but heard. In the middle of the day, you could walk up to the many windows, cup your hands at the side of your eyes like blinders and make out the sun-glistened ocean of the harbor, glinting through the windows on the opposite side. Nearly everyone I walked with or spoke to expressed their dislike of this building.
Creepy. Horrible. Scary. Like a mental institution.
I thought otherwise, wished I could climb through the broken windows and wander the rooms, dance slowly and silently in the grand room I could barely make out when I squinted. It looked out on the ocean. I liked it especially at dusk when it seemed most haunted, when I could imagine its inhabitants a combination of old world formalism and the rugged frontier that was California in the nineteenth century. The woods and unruly plants and flowers grew up and around it, sometimes if I cocked my head, it appeared slanted, its peaks barely reaching, more earth than sky. I have no idea how old this building was nor what it was used for, and I had no desire to learn.
I left my irony there, a visitor grown pale, wispy, cold and of no use. What remains is vulnerability, something raw and lusty, no blinders, blinding not blinded.