I took a drive through the delta region just south of Sacramento. This is the area where the rivers of the central valley snake and spread until they reach the pacific. Winding levee roads trace the shores of these sloughs and streams. It’s a peaceful drive and gives you a scenic route to the metropolis of San Francisco. It’s funny; there is always this comparison between the flashy Los Angeles basin, the quiet superiority of the Bay Area and little ol’ Sacramento.
I thought about all of that as I drove up and down those windy roads. See, back in my younger days I took two years of my life and served a full-time mission for my church. Ispent those years knocking on doors, riding around on a bike, wearing a white shirt and tie. It was the right thing to do at the time. The most prominent lesson I gleaned from that period in my life (along with many memorable experiences) was this: build on bridges of common beliefs. This principal stood above the rest because it’s universal in application. It helped me in my missionary activities; it has helped me in my career, as well as personal relationships. It is a philosophy that crosses religious and cultural borders. It encourages harmony. I like it.
I wrote my poem about the back and forth between Sacramento and San Francisco with that thought in mind. I think the poem demonstrates that idea in a very specific context. At least that is what I tried to convey.
ONE STATE OF MIND
“So,” Sacramento said to San Francisco,
“what makes you think we’re so different?”
Replied San Francisco, while it cuddled the Pacific,
“You can’t compare modern to antiquated,
landlocked to seaside,
muddied rivers to a bay open to the rest of the world,
friends like Chico and Fresno
with Oakland and Monterey.”
Sacramento pondered these judgments,
the air of contention wafting over the valley.
Then Sacramento remembered and rebutted:
“Then you must have forgotten that you’re not so
detached as you feign.
You have forgotten that your polished edges trail
into my backyard. Turn your locked
eyes away from the I-80
No reply from The City.
Sacramento continued: “You forgot about the winding road of
highway 84 threading my valley to your
cliffs, the warm embrace of Rio Vista
between our backs.”
San Francisco let go of the ocean just a little.
“Stretched miles and tired waters roll between our city
these fake lines that tell the people where to settle down.”
Sacramento paused. San Francisco sighed.
“Would you cow to the mere rumor of mortal
voices, when you are the hills and the rocks?”
“I almost forgot,” San Francisco thought,
“that the land is ours, the lines belong to the earth
that we open and close, not to the
Then Sacramento and San Francisco knew
that they were of the same state of mind. They
let their people go on believing in
city limits and yellow lines on black pavement,
lines that would only last as long as they believed.