The last thing, before I die.

I want to feel the cool air, washed by the Pacific, twisting with fog as it slides through the redwoods and eucalyptus, climbing the hills between the ocean and the San Andreas fault, I want to feel it on my face and chest. I want it to give me goose bumps and to make me shiver. Don't worry. Let me stand or sit or lie (whatever I'm capable of) there and shiver. I want that smell to be the last smell, those chills, the last thing I feel.

Why? Because yesterday morning I was riding my bicycle down along the bay trail. I was sleepy in that good, weekend-morning kind of sleepiness. The sun was bright and warm and a man in very dirty clothes was asleep on a bench under the shade of a small tree. And I thought that maybe he had died there. What I nice place to go though. The small waves of the bay shattered the reflection of the sun, dazzling the birds flying overhead. What a nice place to go.

I looked past him as I rode by, west, up to the hills where the fog slowly receded like a woman pulling back a gloved hand in a blurry photograph. I thought, that's where I would want to be, at dusk, up there.

When we brought my father home from the hospital, we put him in his bedroom that overlooked the woods and the ridge behind his house. We opened all the windows to let in the early autumn breeze, still warm but with hints of winter around the edges. I like to believe he appreciated that. He died an hour later, and I like to believe he had waited until he was in that place, with his family near. I just like to believe he appreciated that, because I think I will too.