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A Father's Day Literary Treasure Hunt.
The Sea View Lodge.
By Paolo Pontoniere
What about organizing a treasure hunt for Fathers' Day this year? And what if this hunt is to find Northern California's most coveted literary secret, the current location of the mythical Sea View Lodge?
The Sea View Lodge isn't what the name may induce the reader to think of. It isn't a building, a retreat location, or an assemblage of cabins in the woods overlooking the ocean off the coast of California, as the name may imply. Not at all, for sure, a lodging structure. No, the Sea View is the secret location of an itinerant and elusive convivium of accidental writers. It secretly migrates across the dunes, lagoons, and beaches of Point Reyes National Sea Shore, the US natural park in Marin County just off San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.
Rather than looking for a building, the seeker must look for markers like a flag risen on a curious pole in the dunes off Limantour Beach, McClures Beach, or Drakes Beach. In other instances, it may be a tepee made of wood poles carried to shore by the waves like ossified sepia bones that have been whitened by the sun and smoothed by the wind.
According to its own biography, written in a diary in a box meant to protect it from the weather, the Sea View Lodge has been itinerating throughout the suggestive and primordial coastal area of this ocean sanctuary for the past twenty years. If one could imagine the poetic embodiment of something magic or astral as Harry Potter's Hoghworth or Isaac Asimov's The Foundation, it would be the Sea View. In fact, cognoscenti believe that It can't be seen by everybody. They think it is a mystical place that calls out only to unique travelers inviting them to stop and leave a sign of their passage: a drawing, a poem, a notation, some crab shells, or sand dollars. The only rule the finder will find in the introduction to the novel that visitors are writing collectively is that if one takes a thing, one must put it in one thing, no matter its value. And under no circumstance, never, never take the diary.
"The lodge sits in plain view. It can't be seen by everybody. To the observer must be able to meld with the landscape, to enter it materially and spiritually," writes a visitor in one of the hundreds of entries that this writer could read from the diary he found at one of the Sea View Locations.
Others believed that one must become one with the wind, float li like the old man Bird dangling from the Oaks and the conifers.
And indeed, to find it, one ends up running along the hiking paths with Quails and Finches. In short, they must become very with the land and its topography.
Of course, this all sounds pretty poetic and mystical and a little hard to believe, and it hadn't been for the fact that he ran into the lodge a couple of times himself and conserves photos and mementos of those encounters to prove it; this writer also would believe that is only a Myth.
But the reader and her father should be confident, wear the right shoes, carry a canteen full of water, sunscreen, a hat, and tons of goodwill, and they may find the lodge. Should they fail, they will have walked one of America's most breathtaking sceneries and shared a good dose of father-children bonding time.