A Last Pistol River Fort

Early Sunday morning. A drizzle fell over the landscape. The ocean was silent and gray. I walked a beach strewn with rocks to see the mouth of the Pistol River one last time before I packed up my old life and began a new one.

I arrived at the mouth and the mouth wasn’t there: blocked by sand. A river that couldn’t flow, couldn’t reach the ocean and begin the water cycle all over again. Oh well, soon enough a rainstorm would hit the watersheds and send the liquid down and eventually smash through the dam. I’d like to see that exact moment, but alas, I wouldn’t be around.

So instead of seeing the mouth, I decided to build a final driftwood fort on this magical estuary. Maybe the otters would join me. They had before.

Driftwood abounded. I could have made a hundred forts.

I started building. A minute in, the structure collapsed. I laughed. I was rusty from city slicker life.

I started again because that is the very nature of building driftwood forts. You always start again.

The fort began to rise and I labored as drivers on Highway 101 watched me or didn’t watch me. If they did, they might wonder why someone was down on the beach building a fort. Maybe they thought I was insane. Or on meth. Or some eccentric artist. Or maybe they didn’t wonder at all. There’s a lot of that going on these days.

I found an old sandal stuffed into some kelp and sticks. Always a left foot. There’s a reason for that.

It was time to go. The fort was of course unfinished because no driftwood fort is ever finished. Only a fool or a novice would believe that.

The afternoon winds of this beach renowned for para-sailing would undoubtedly collapse the fort. But maybe not and the fort might last a few days.

I walked away, wondering if I’d ever walk this beach again.