Monday, June 22, 2015

California on My Mind

June 21. The first day of winter here in the Southern Hemisphere.  Three days since our return to Chile from California. A collage of impressions, images, emotions and events from a visit to my native state whirl in my head:
A flurry of nest-building in the porch rafters – house finches and robins.
The yellow-white torches of the flowering buckeye trees.
The lush greenness of oak, bay, madrone and sequoia trees (in spite of the drought), during a drive to the coast.
Leaving behind a profusion of redwoods to return to the one resilient sequoia in my garden.
Cyclemania –shops, a coop, a museum and a noisy bar all focused on bicycles.
My bewildered hubby faced with restaurant menus featuring the latest in California cuisine. No food surprises for him as he settles for a hamburger, a BLT or a steak.
The sparkling cleanliness of the beaches.
Heavily tattooed fatties in the Dallas airport.
In my hometown, the loss of local icons:
The barber shop with its suspended barber pole, in the same location since my childhood, now closed, a sign informing the passersby that Mel, the barber, passed away at age 92. Through the window, two antique barber chairs. Will someone take his place?
 Also closed: Bubba’s, my favorite diner, the bakery and The Great Acorn, the gift shop where I bought tiny witch hats for my granddaughters last year.
A chat on the phone with Bonnie, my mother’s old friend, and feeling a sharp stab of nostalgia upon hearing her familiar, distinctive voice – a journey back in time as we recalled shared memories.

Now I am back home, and it does feel like home. Being in my beloved California places, I was a visitor, borrowing others’ homes and sharing briefly their lives. My life, my house, my family are here.
Telegraph Avenue - Berkeley