Gathering together in the light pg 2


Join us for our 22nd annual celebration of the migration through San Francisco Bay of more than 1 million shorebirds and hundreds of thousands of ducks, geese, hawks and other wildlife at the peak of migration. February 9-11, 2018




During our visits, Lorrie shared countless stories of Mare Island life, culture, nature, the War, the Ammunition Depot specifically, the Shipyard generally and certainly, what she observed and experienced of the effects of the war. From her bedroom window overlooking the Mare Island Strait, she watched those more than 1,100 ships and submarines the Mare Island Shipyard launched, repaired, overhauled and modified, come up the river and leave down bound for the Golden Gate and out into the Pacific, many never to return. Following the unfathomable explosion of Port Chicago, she watched her father put on his overcoat and hat and leave their house, not to return for 3 days. He was part of the team that in 1942 designed, built and managed Port Chicago as an extension of the Mare Island munitions facility. And, that night in July of 1944 he knew he had an unthinkable duty.

Why have I chosen to open my letter to you this year, with a story of WWII and my friend, Lorrie and her family? Certainly, she has profoundly enlightened me about Mare Island history from a cultural, historic and natural perspective. She was and will always be a dearest friend. I cherish elders who have journeyed before us and shine the light on our own way. At this time of year, another significant influence of my Mare Island experience awakens me. The sounds of migrating waterfowl in the sky above and those resting and feeding on the river below, remind me of the timelessness of this sacred and treasured land at the confluence of many of California’s great waterways rushing to the Pacific.

My own earliest memories were reawakened in yesterday’s journey to my hometown, passing through vast flooded rice fields on which tens of thousands of waterfowl rested and fed, snow-covered Mt. Lassen and Mt. Shasta rising in the distance. As we crossed a bridge, the Feather River meandered below us, the river where as tiny children, we first boated and camped on its islands and shores, surrounded by waterbirds and willows and grasses. As we ascended into the Sierra Foothills, the valley floor sweeping in one magnificent landscape below us, valley oaks faded first to blue oak and gray pines, then vistas vanished, giving way to dense yellow pines and black oak woodlands. And, I thought about how those woodland watersheds drain into the waters of my memory and gather together to flow into the Sacramento then, to the Caquinez Strait and through the Golden Gate into the Pacific. Those waterfowl on the rice fields and rivers a hundred miles away from Mare Island, will return home on their Pacific Flyway migration to the same summer nesting grounds as those who have chosen to wing their way to Mare Island and its surrounds.

Enveloped in the sheer joy of the quiet, the serene, surrounded by the nearby lights of tens of thousands, yet alone in my Mare Island quiet space. Still, all the while comforted because I’m assured that we are not really alone. This is what Lorrie cherished so in her life here. It’s what she so valiantly shared with me. And, what I attempt to convey to you. From this vantage point, I see for myself that we are one with nature, waters, sky, woodlands, wildness and one another. The light that flashes from the mountaintop tonight, is the same light that although it was darkened so many decades ago, has returned this one night each year, to mark a place and a time in our shared memories. Even though one of my great guiding lights has turned out, I know with all my heart, that another and another will come to light my way.

Like the waterfowl and shorebirds of the Pacific who follow some magic guide that helps them find their way here to rest and feed each year, a light will always shine to guide our way. In spite of loss and tragedy and seemingly unsurmountable difficulty, we find in the connections we make with wildness and shared times in nature, a quiet, a surprise and a thrill that warms our beings and assures us that all is well. If only for a moment, we are somehow shifted into the light. A light that guides us on our journey together on this planet earth.

Join me this 22nd season of migration celebrated together at the San Francisco Bay Flyway Festival, as together we bask in the shared light that glows bright as we gather on this vibrant ancient land with its magnificent vistas that inspire and restore, surrounded by swirling ebbing and flowing waters abundant with our migrant friends from the north, woodlands filled with song birds and hills where raptors hover and swoop low for their prey.

Will you join us this year as a Flyway Festival exhibitor? Will you support the Flyway Festival with your donations of cash and auction/raffle items? Will you tell your friends, co-workers and family about the Flyway Festival? Will you volunteer? Whatever way you can, please help us ensure another Flyway Festival. We are most grateful.

Call/text or email either Sarah 510-579-1008[] or me 707-249-9633 [] with questions and suggestions. Whatever way you can, please help us ensure our 22nd Flyway Festival is a great event. We are most grateful.


Myrna Hayes

Festival Director and Co-founder

Mare Island Heritage Trust



Please make your donation to the Flyway Festival payable to:

Mare Island

Heritage Trust

816 Branciforte St.

Vallejo, CA 94590

Click on the Donate button above or give at the Flyway Festival Wildlife Expo

Photos: Old Sperry Mill, South Vallejo, James Lewis; above top, Shipyard cranes and drydock, USS Boston Memorial, Mare Island Naval Cemetery, sparrow in olive tree, Mare Island Preserve, Bill George; red-shafted flicker above, Rita LeRoy, Photo left, Myrna Hayes, Festival Director and Co-founder, Zabrina Deng

Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they

say, but with


So, go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally.

The broken world

waits in darkness

for the light that

is you.

L. R. Knost