Friday, December 16, 2011

Devil's Slide

As Wordsworth once wrote: 'I grew up Fostered alike by beauty and by fear …"

I would say I did, too, but in my case, a little more fear than beauty maybe. I met the Devil in the 60's, you see.

Here is an old photo I found online of the infamous Devil’s Slide, a notorious stretch of highway along the coast of California where "falling rocks" signs dotted the roadside and cars plunging off the edge to the ocean below were a regular news story. As a kid, I had to travel this road many times whenever we went to and from El Granada to San Francisco and back. Southbound, from the passenger seat I would have had the drop-off side of the road (a mere bread crust of space) right out my window--though mostly I could barely bring myself to look. The picture does not quite get you there, but for a child looking out the window the edge seemed a gust of wind away. And then swoosh, down that terrible drop to the ocean and rocks below. During my life in El Granada, there was  no shortage of reports of cars going off the edge and families plummeting to their death. More recent photos show that they've added a lot more guard railing. But when I lived there, this is what it looked like. Give me a Wordsworthian cataract any day.

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