In those days, when life in Roberts Creek was uncomplicated, summer evenings were spent either on the beach or on the wharf.
The wharf was a gathering place for us kids. Looking west, we saw the sun setting. Looking down, we saw our simple fishing lines, hoping to catch “shiners,” which were not food fish but ended up in our parents’ gardens as fertilizer. And in late August, when the school year loomed, we listened to the wingbeats of the flying ants, which nested in the old logs, the pilings, and took flight and fluttered among us as they did their thing for the next generation.
The wharf was a place of special and ritual significance to us. We dove from the wharf, at high tide, daring each other to make the most perfect passage through the warm summer air into the warm summer water.
In those days, the wharf saw tragedy. On my 10th birthday, a man fell off the edge and drowned. Using my new walkie-talkie, I called for help. Steve Mitten ran and Dr. Carl Covernton rowed as fast as any man could to the wharf, but all was lost. The guy was gone. Drowned in our warm ocean.
Today, there is no wharf – just the jetty. It’s a nice place to sit and feel the wind and sunsets. The flying ants have gone elsewhere, and a new generation of beach kids have newer places to fish and dive.
Roberts Creek is their own, their place of dreams.