Being on the Right

``If you're on the left side of the aircraft,'' the pilot said, ``you'll be able to see San Francisco and the whole Bay Area.'' But being on the right, we were deprived. All we could see was the wide South Bay, a vast pool of mist-rimmed daybreak, cinched with the San Mateo Bridge, and beyond the dark wash outlines of mountains, carefully edged with the calligraphy of receding rows of ridge tops, stroked in by the brush of daily wind, the hands of water, painting with the ink of millenia, precisely shadowing the white vapor, not just for this one sunrise, but for centuries of mornings, and not one more carefully limned with sun, mist, and mountains than this one.

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