Bart Mendoza 5 a.m., Dec. 8
As Fall is in full swing like a charming girl in an orange dress who already said “Goodbye!” to Summer, I decided to venture to inland San Diego, away from my beloved Pacific. I did not know what to expect… networks of snakelike freeways and paved surface streets guided me east as multi-colored cars were carrying faces locked in the air-conditioned reality of another day of work.
The landscape changed drastically: from the dramatic “love affair” of the ocean rhythmically caressing the curves of the La Jolla coast to a warm welcoming of the multitude of rolling hills playfully trying to reach for the cumulus “cotton candy” of heavens.
Miramar Air Force Base was getting closer as jets - like little daring flies- were having fun with the sound barrier among the clouds. I could even imagine hearing the echoes of a loud speaker of a Hollywood director working on the set of the movie “Top Gun” with Tom Cruise, filmed years ago, here, at the base.
I exited the freeway and headed to Miramar Lake. Who would have known that this place existed so close to the dynamic and busy vibration of a city? Miramar Lake is not only one of the nine water reservoirs in the city of San Diego such as: Barrett, El Capitan, Hodges, Miramar, Murray, Lower Otay, Upper Otay, San Vicente, and Sutherland, but ,also, a place where time can stay still for a while and nature takes over.
Built between 1959 and 1960 the lake is open year round, seven days a week. As you walk from the parking lot towards the picnic area an information post makes you want to stop and read: Maximum depth:- 114.00 ft, Elevation - 714, Shoreline miles when full: four. Surface acres when full : 162. Capacity acre –feet:- 7,184, and, finally, distance from San Diego: 18 miles.
I couldn’t wait to sit and open my picnic basket as a group of cheerful people were doing the same thing two tables away. I could, finally, eat and relax as two fishing boats, one small rental and one bigger and fancier, were gliding mutely onto the mirrored lake, in opposite directions. I could see tiny heads and fishing poles eager to catch bass, bluegill, sunfish, channel catfish, and trout as ducks, geese, and some funny black birds with white beaks and green leaf like feet curiously followed them like a “Spanish Armada” of a natural habitat.
Across the lake I could see several mini bike riders and joggers like toys aiming for their final destination, back to the starting point of the four mile paved lane that surrounds the reservoir.
As the group next to me turned their table into a Birthday celebration, giggling at the sight of the rainbow cake and ignoring the high number of candles, I had that sensation I was being watched. Could that man sitting with his feet up be the one? No! He was too deep into his reading a novel. Was it that woman walking her two Dachshunds be the one who triggered that sensation? No! She was too involved with those cute Doxies…or the jet ski rider far on the lake?!? …then who?
I took my camera slowly out of my pouch, turned around and…Snap! A very curious …duck was “studying” me from a very close proximity. I stretched my finger and she let me touch her feathers…we made eye contact…literally…one eye contact, the one on the right (for the duck). She, then, took off as an ocean breeze must have lost its way between the hills of Miramar…
I stood up and headed towards the place where the duck landed to join her winged friends…at the edge of the clearest water …
Time passed like a SeaDoo in full throttle making me aware of my to-do List of the remaining of the day. I pressed on the accelerator and took a peek in the rear-view mirror...I was leaving behind a 3D collage of a restless flag against such a peaceful place of reflection and freshness, a canvas “disturbed” once in a while by my favorite sound barrier breakers of Miramar Air Force Base.