How Leaders Rise

Some years ago (2002) I decided to travel the Rockies from New Mexico to Canada following mainly blue highways. I gained a lot of insight from that trip that I ultimately used in writing parts of my novel, Wayward Saint. When I reached the border between the USA and Canada there was a part of me that wanted to keep going; but there was a stronger will to turn back. There was something about seeing the sign that said, “Leaving USA”. I turned back south, then west.

Some days after, I arrived at some small inlet on the west coast, somewhere in northern California. I spent many nights on this trip sleeping in the cab of my truck to save money. On one particular morning I awoke and noticed a lighthouse in the distance. I drove up to the top of the ridge where the lighthouse stood and there was a small parking lot across from a small neighborhood perched atop this ridge. I got out and sat down at the only picnic table there and began to write. It was one of the most beautiful and perfect mornings I have ever experienced. This picture was taken from that morning.

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Photo by Alan S. Garrett

Eventually, some official came by and mentioned there were gray whales in the waters below. They were migrating from Baja to Alaska. What timing. I watched for a while, finished writing, and then drove back down the ridge and around the inlet. I found a dirt road that took me further down the coastline and came across the plants in the second picture.

The long stems with flowers perched atop reminded me of how leaders rise. Extending from the undergrowth to blossom together from different regions of the Earth. Eventually this became a philosophical concept explored in Wayward Saint.

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Photo by Alan S. Garrett