She said, “Let’s just get into the car and drive,” and so we did, crossing the Golden Gate into Marin. It was a Saturday afternoon. We had our windows down, and shards of music and conversation from passing cars blew into our ears and faded almost as soon as they had registered. Minutes after the bridge, the fog lifted and we looked back across the glistening bay, at the thick white clouds strangely contained on the peninsula and the water surrounding it. We kept driving, past a harbor with private yachts on the right. A seaplane swooped down overhead and settled on water that wasn’t blue but the color of wet river rocks. Onward we went into the yellow and green hills just north of the city, studded with million-dollar homes. Past the exit sign for San Quentin prison, past the 29-N that could’ve taken us to Sonoma or Napa or Lake Berryessa, on highways that go on forever, north into Oregon, south into Mexico. It’s easy to forget, living in San Francisco, that there’s life outside of it, that summer slumbers in the headlands, even if it feels like fall in the city. That the highest peaks of the nearby Sierra Madres still bear snow in mid-July. I thought of novelist Jim Harrison’s Upper Peninsula, Rick Bass’ Montana, Louise Erdrich’s Minnesota, and I thought of that great chronicler of northern California, John Steinbeck. I wondered what they would think of my debut novel that comes out next year. A California novel, the product of eleven years I’ve spent in this state, where you can see four seasons in a day, and chase a dream that lasts a lifetime. I thought of this long after my girlfriend had turned the car around, sunlight glowing on her skin, to take us back home across the water.