There are no highway directions to the town. Only one small sign lets you know you've arrived. Bolinas: Socially acknowledged nature loving town. Before I headed over, the realtor remarked, Oh Bolinas. The town the 60s forgot.
It'd been nearly 20 years since I'd been here. I remember the town having just a few ramshackle buildings, a small store and plenty of surf gear. I remember men with long hair, wearing wet suits. I wondered, would I feel like I was time traveling back to a bygone era?
I walked through the town on my way to the water's edge. A man walked down the street, a foot-long beard, white as snow. Street art littered the boardwalk leading to the water: a man against a pink background wearing a suit, carrying a riding crop and a surfboard; Bo Bo, the town's nickname written everywhere.
A dozen surfers dotted the waves. Known as a good place to get your surfing legs about you, most surfers wobbled and quickly fell. Finally one rode all the way in. Reaching the shore, he seemed uncertain about what to do next, falling at the last minute in several inches of water. I turned my eyes back to the other surfers.
I swear I saw a shark. Once I'd read an article that said the waters outside Bolinas were rife with Great Whites. Surely, that must be a shark I thought. My nerves on edge, ready to shout a warning. It must be a shark. But no. Just a seabird. It's wings tipped at just the right angle.
The next time I go to Bolinas I will remember the metamorphosis of the shark into a seabird and the way the town smelled: like dirt, eucalyptus and flowers; the stores, like handmade lavender soap and incense.