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.
I inherited my father's brown eyes, bushy eyebrows, and his curly hair. I have his wheezy cough and I hear it when I'm sick, and wonder how he got into my room, though he is long gone.
Robert Hunter, the lyricist for the Grateful Dead, was also the lyricist for my life. His words threaded through my life since I was 21, when I met some new friends, Harold and Alan, and a community of people that became my tribe. Would I be who I am without Hunter?
The Coast Starlight train trip from Oakland to Santa Barbara is a beautiful nine hours long. I had frequently traveled up and down the U.S. west coast, but the train was just never as cheap or quick or convenient as flying or driving. But when all you have is time...
Four years in Portland, and I'm no longer feeling quite Californian, and almost but not quite an Oregonian. I celebrated quietly and took note of how it feels now.
...recently, driving 1900 miles through California and back, feeling the pull in both directions, I realize that I've become polyamorous, very much a two state woman.