Werewolves of Corte Madera.


Yesterday I managed to squeeze in a ridiculously beautiful trail run above our kids’ school in Marin. I had about 2 hours to burn between the 2nd grade’s “Did You Know Medicine Show” and a meeting in SoMa that did not involve 2nd graders. Have trail running shoes in trunk, will travel.

Look at that photo at the top of this blog. Are you kidding me? Wow!

Marin Country Day School’s environs are about as bucolic as they come, as the school is nestled in the hollow of Ring Mountain. As Bay Area Hiker reports, “[the] grassy slopes afford fantastic views of Mount Tamalpais, the bay, and San Francisco. Trails wind through rock formations, across tiny creeks, through wildflower-dotted hillsides, and under old coast live oaks and California bays. Petroglyph Rock, near the preserve’s highest spot, has rock carvings created by Native Americans. And the unusual geology of the preserve supports plants that grow nowhere else, most prominently the Tiburon mariposa lily, which blooms in May. All this in a setting just a few miles north of San Francisco makes Ring Mountain a perfect choice for a quick hike, or for more advanced nature study.”

And, I might add, a great place to be stalked by werewolves.

A couple years back, as I bounded around up there from one trail to another, in a “The Hills Are Alive” euphoria, I stopped short. Not easy to do running downhill on whipped quads. I spied a werewolf maybe 25 yards below. That would put him about 150 yards above the Upper School Field teeming with my boys’ schoolmates and perhaps one or both of my boys, as well.

The problem was that the werewolf spied me, and didn’t adhere to the Field Guide etiquette. He didn’t break eye contact, whimper, and run off with his matted tail between his legs. Terrified by my clearly dominant physical presence and superior prefrontal cortex allowing for sophisticated metacognition — I am aware that I am thinking, and the varmin is supposedly not aware of being aware.

The varmin didn’t run. He didn’t budge. More likely, he was computing whether he would eat my sweaty little Clifbar visor along with the sweaty rest of me. I was computing, too, though. My prefrontal cortex foresaw the werewolf ripping me limb from limb. So I picked up a baseball-sized rock with one of those limbs. I was no longer tapping into my superior intelligence; that which allows me to ponder whether the epic blocks on Ring Mountain were squeezed up from miles beneath the Earth’s surface millions of years ago like Playdoh through fingers and/or lay on the Ocean floor at some point. All I knew in my now-Caveman brain was that I needed a big rock I could throw at the Saber-Toothed Tiger so my kids and their school chums wouldn’t be traumatized by the sight of me eviscerated on a bed of purple Brodiaea Appendiculata.

In my half-panicked state, I scraped up several rocks. The photo below captures the moment. I threw the first one. He flinched. I threw another. He ran. I didn’t take any more photos. I was too busy riding my adrenaline down the rock-studded trail back to the safety of my Jeep.

I was appropriate freaked out, however. From my bucket seat, I breathlessly emailed the Upper School Head about my werewolf encounter. I wanted to ensure that MCDS took the proper precautions. Silver bullets, silver walking canes, pretty much anything silver and sharp. Silver lunchroom sporks in a pinch, if that’s all the townspeople could scrounge up on such short notice.

Only I never saw the school-wide email bulletin, never received the school emergency system phone chain voicemail, never even caught a blurb in the weekly digital newsletter. I felt a little miffed. And perplexed. There’s no mention in the MCDS application materials about werewolves running amok just a stone’s throw off campus. There are no references on the school website to the mythic beasts patrolling the area where our kids parade around looking for Monarch butterflies. How could this be?

Curious. Very curious indeed.

This allows for only one logical conclusion: The Assistant Upper School Head is one of them. Matt is a werewolf. I suggest you arm your children with an arsenal of silver sporks, as I have done. I also stuff one in my running sock, whenever I venture back up Ring Mountain. I am fully-prepared for my next encounter with the beast, my pre-frontal cortex and I. I’m ready for you, Matt!

Thanks for reading.


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