While reviewing a series of emails I have written to some of my closest and not so close friends over the past four years in search of material for this and other blogs and articles, I came across a few chapters of a Mystery novel I had begun but never completed and soon forgotten. I thought a chapter containing a brief description of the history of the great valley that includes San Francisco Bay appeared interesting and decided to share it with you. Some of the diologue at the end of the post sounds a lot like some of the statements by fundamentalist preachers dabbling in politics that appear of the pages of "People for the American Way" blog. If they are and I have failed to properly cite them, I apologize. Let me know if you recognize anything and I will immediately correct any inadvedent oversight.
Chapter: Blackhawk Down.
North of the Tehachapi Mountains California’s coastal range resembles a washboard dipping into the Pacific Ocean washtub. The western face of first ridge plunges down on to a narrow strip of land before quickly falling away into the ocean. Except for foraging for fish and mollusks during certain periods of the years, native Americans tended to avoid settling here because of the inhospitable climate and unproductive soils. The Spanish and later Mexican settlers as well as the early anglos avoided it also except for the establishment of a few fishing communities and lumber ports. Not so the modern Californians, they huddle together on this slight, cold and foggy strip of land in numbers far greater than the land can support ostensibly for the perceived benefits of the view of the somber grey Pacific Ocean and the bracing weather.
From Humboldt County on the north through to the mountains of the Big Sur, a large valley lies just inland of the first ridge, a semi arid paradise, cooled in the summers from the brisk breezes off the ocean flooding into the valley through the gaps in the ridges, and warm in the winter due to the moderating waters of the ocean and the blocking, by the valley’s western ridges, of the frigid winter winds sweeping down from the Sierras and across the great Central Valley. Here lies the Bay of San Francisco, eastern Marin, Sonoma and Mendocino Counties to the North and to the South eastern San Mateo County, Santa Clara County and Silicon Valley and San Jose. The valley narrows as it continues south until it disappears into the Salinas River Valley watershed.
In prehistoric times gigantic mammals roamed the area we now call California and this happy valley until driven into extinction in part by the immigrant homo-sapiens from the Northeastern Asia. These immigrants, later referred to as indigenous Americans or Indians, then settled down into a relatively low impact semi-paradiasical existence for almost 15,000 years until the Spanish arrived with their missions, horses and cattle. The missions, through overwork and disease, quickly cleansed the valley of the earlier settlers, while the huge herds of free range horses and cattle irrevocably altered the fauna. Here modern Californians eventually chose to live in great numbers even though the valley lacked the resources to support them.
Following the denuding of the hills and valleys of this part of the coastal range by the imported ruminants, great hoards of a practically useless shiny yellow metal called gold were discovered in the Sierra foothills. This useless metal was highly desired by the light-skinned people living east of the Sierra, far more valuable to them then glass beads and seashells were to the native Peoples. So valuable in fact that unlike the native people’s pursuit of valuable feathers and baubles they were willing to kill who ever stood in their way to posses it. As a result vast numbers of these pale skinned immigrants flooded into California across the seemingly almost impassable mountains and by boat across the infinite sea. They came from the boondocks, farms and slums of East Coast America and Europe with greed on their minds and mayhem in their hearts. In quick succession these newcomers tore down the hills to get at the gold, eliminated most of the remainder of the indians and took the land from the Mexican successors to the Spanish settlers.
Many of them settled in Yerba Buena (later San Francisco) where they disembarked and in the surrounding area of this coastal valley. As a result of the depredations by the miners in the foothills the great bay and delta that formed the heart of the valley and nourished those that had lived here for millennia turned brown and changed from deep clear waters, tule and salt marshes to vast mud flats.
In order to provide homes, buildings and energy for these new immigrants and even more wealth for those most advantaged by the mines, the great coastal redwood forests were cut down. Also, to provide fresh water, transportation and supplies to these new immigrants water was brought in great pipelines from the Sierras where it was plentiful, to the coastal valley where it was not and ribbons of roads and rails spread out along the bay and the valley.
Eventually development of these most recent immigrants covered the land and crowded the shores of the greatly diminished bay, leaving less room for the new wealthy and fortunate to live as they believed their good fortune entitled them.
The next valley in the coastal range to the East of the San Francisco Bay valley remained largely the preserve large ranchos and the tiny towns servicing them except for in the passes that provided transportation corridors from the Bay to the Central Valley and beyond.
About 30 years ago real-estate developers realized that there was a market for large so-called planned unit developments surrounding golf courses instead of natural open space, and decided these large ranchos in this until then rural valley would work just fine. So one day, on the eastern ridge or this valley an exclusive community centered on a golf course was built made up mostly of homes built to 3 or 4 standard designs except for on the highest points on the ridge. Here huge custom-built villas were built for the very wealthy.
In one of these custom-built homes located along the 17th fairway of the golf course, three men knelt, praying.
“God's providence moves all things,” intoned Reverend Michael.
“I’d also like thank you Harry for taking time out from your duties as a Guardian of the Disciples to join us today. Your work is essential to rooting out the cancer of liberals and progressives that is killing our nation. Their lethal ideological radiation is poisoning us and our children and must be stopped.”
He glanced from one to the other then looked down for a moment then raised his head and continued, “This demonic which hunt by the liberals in Congress and the Administration must not interfere with our plans to pave the way for the second coming. We must stop them and even resort to violence if necessary. I know that you understand that and know what needs to be done.”
“Yes we do,” said Harry. “I and the other Guardians have worked hard to prepare ourselves for the struggle.”
“I know you have,” Reverend Michael responded.
He then shook his head slowly and continued, “God is displeased with America for its pride and arrogance, for killing 40 million unborn babies, for the universality of profanity and for other forms of immorality. We need to accept the truth that this nation will suffer in many ways for departing from the principles of righteousness. ‘The wages of sin is death,’ as it says in Romans 6, both for individuals and for entire cultures.”
He then slowly rose from his chair and said to them, “You both know what needs to be done. I will leave you to your planning.”
He stopped and smiled and said, “Congressman Reffo and Congressman Cantor are waiting for me at the first tee. Sadly one is member of the Catholic Church, ‘The Great Whore,’ ‘apostate church,’ and the other a Jew, one of those no longer spiritually alive whom God sent Hitler to hunt down in preparation for the second coming. But, they support much of our mission. Perhaps some-day God will see fit for them to see his light and leave their cult systems and join us.”
He then walked toward the door and when he reached it he turned and said with a serious expression on his face, “You know, of course, that golf is the devils own game.”
(Note: I have collected these email magazines and placed them into a personal blog called "This and that," should anyone be interested in shifting through almost four years of entries.)