Tide of Empire on the San Francisco Bay

October 8, 2015 | By | Reply More

san-francisco-bay-at-sunset1Go to the narrows of the strait where the ocean has cleft the western mountain wall and invaded the continent.

Stand near the old fort on the southern shore, where the colossus of the Gate arches across the sky from headland to headland above the racing tide.

The sun gleams from the white capped waves of the ebbing current, from the bright red steel of the bridge in the sky, from the wind ruffled blue waters of the inner bay, from the white towers of the city rising like monoliths from the peninsular hills.

san-francisco-aerialA black freighter, outbound for the Orient, moves through the strait on the tide, partly disappears behind the massive base of the bridge tower, then emerges, its blow beginning to rise and fall in the ocean surge.

Several long necked cormorants skim the water nearby, batting their wings furiously against the wind. A single white gull wheels in the air currents against a backdrop of the cities on the bay’s eastern shore.

The tide flowing swiftly outward beneath the bridge carries the water of the river from the high granite ridges and glacial fountains of the Sierra – waters of Shasta, Tuolumne, Yosemite, Kings, water which have flowed through mine tailings of the Mother Lode, past the cities and orchards of Sacramento, the cotton fields of the San Joaquin, the vineyards of Sonoma, the rich peat gardens of the delta, the factories and cities of the bay.

Bay_Bridge_2SnStThis is Chrysopolae, the Western Gate, and the bay within it has become, as Frémont and Dana predicted, the center of a western empire, the “emporium of a new world, the awakened Pacific …”

Now, in the second half of the twentieth century, the prophecies take on new meaning.

The Chrysoceras of Byzantium was the ancient crossroads between Europe and Asia, and the Chrysopolae of San Francisco is ready for a similar role.

A view of Angel Island, Alcatraz Island and San Francisco from the City of Tiburon.

A view of Angel Island, Alcatraz Island and San Francisco from the City of Tiburon.

Now there is an “Awakened Pacific” greater than Dana ever dreamed – in all the lands at the ends of the sea lanes which lead out the Golden Gate.

There, the peoples of renascent nations are beginning to seek bread and freedom and machines and books, and all the rumblings and stirrings along the far shores are harbingers of an age in the making.

This bay can be the “emporium of a new world” of unimagined potentiality.

The gate which opened inward on El Dorado now opens outward on the Orient.

11243256084_659b3b361c_bHere the waters of the western rivers meet cresting waves from the far Pacific.

Here they mingle with ocean brine which may have once washed across the white coral atolls of the Marshalls, slapped against the wharves at Hong Kong, swirled in rip currents at Yokohama, thundered against the icy Siberian sea cliffs of Kamchatka, flowed in tidal rhythms along all the coasts of Asia,

The long earth circling migrations of Occidental man have brought him at last to this ultimate shore, facing across the final ocean he land of his beginnings.

Tomorrow lies west.

It is being shaped at this moment beyond the setting sun.

Golden-Gate-Bridge-Fog-XlgIt is brewing in the conjunction of Ocean Rivers and moving masses of air far out on the face of the North Pacific.

It is being conceived out of the impact of historical forces of titanic power and magnitude around the shores of this sea.

Its visible symbol is the Gate at the edge of the continent.

More than ever, in the Era of the Pacific, this will be the bay of destiny.



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Category: Fog City - City of Fog, I left my ❤ in San Francisco

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