My wife and I went out to the Marin Headlands yesterday, on a beautiful if windy October afternoon, to hike through the earthquake-prone hills of an upraised seabed, past the eroding concrete bunkers of the U.S. military – abstract monoliths left stranded in the landscape.
They’re now strange altars: the solid but empty geometry of power.
As we walked out of the hills and got closer to the coast, we heard the distant ringing of buoys, like churches at sea, their bells tolling slowly amongst waves, framed by the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance.
There were pine cones resting on the tops of rocks that tilted up and out of the ground like gravestones, and it was so silent sometimes we could make out the flapping of birds’ wings.
Gulls hovered semi-stationary at the exact confluence of hillside and wind: part of the landscape, rooted in air.
But then, incredibly, because it’s Fleet Week, the Blue Angels came roaring out of the sky, tracing aerial symmetries, and the muffled thump of a sonic boom echoed into the open door of a nearby bunker.
It was two terrestrially competitive visions of the military colliding: one embedded in the Earth through excavation, the other colonizing the sky.
(Earlier on BLDGBLOG: Bunker Archaeology).