Home again, my exhausted brain is on random play, thinking about music, about Kimmy, about community, about death, about improvisation, all the things I immersed in on our bi-annual music gathering in the hills above Santa Cruz. I'm also thinking about the apocalyptic orange sky outside right now.
When I visit California it's with one foot firmly planted in the past. This is how it all used to be, this highway, those hills, that beach, this restaurant, that friend, the place I used to….
I'm not a big fan of air travel. Noise, discomfort, crowds, and TSA put me on the grumpy and impatient side of being the old lady I am. And I've probably watched too many plane crash movies. But looking down from up high fascinates me - the contrasts, the geography, recognizing places I've been, and the impacts of time and weather.
The pandemic highlighted how important it was to all of us to have this music-based community, to recommit to one another, to hold each other up and cheer each other on, and to know that these friendships would be here when we return. The ultimate intimate connection for me is the music. When words fail, there's music.
The long drive gave me lots of time to consider, and go over lyrics of songs I hoped to lead in the jams. I immersed myself in the scenery flashing by, and realized as we left the urban boundary, that this was our first drive so far south on I-5 in 999 days.
Washington in February may have been a misguided vacation plan. Sub-freezing temps, every layer of clothing I own, more miles of walking and more sitting in the car than is good for me - I kept hearing Little Feat's Old Folks Boogie: "And you know, that you're over the hill, when your mind makes a promise that your body can't fill."
A pink sunrise and calm seas was an auspicious start for our return trip home, with stops at churning, restless waters, grand bridges, stunning viewpoints, and a steep muddy hike.
When we planned this four day vacation last month, I assumed it would be a storm watching trip, and found a hotel with lots of windows right smack up to the water. I envisioned cozy indoor time in our little nest, gazing out at the wild surf.... The rain swept in as a steady flow from the south. Looking out the window started to feel like being snow blind - white on white, with barely a glimmer of blue or green.
Day two of an Oregon adventure. Setting off southward, we drove and stopped and drove and hiked and drove and stopped some more. That's the Oregon coast, thick with rest stops, viewpoints, waysides, and more. You can't get far because you want to stop at them all.
Finally, everything aligned, and it was time to get out to the Oregon coast. I packed every bit of warm clothing, binoculars and bird books, notebooks and fiction, and we set out to the south in a drizzle. The sky was a tumult of grays and whites, and we drove over rivers, between pastures, past wetlands and bogs...