california life

Friday Snapshot(s)

15 April 2011

(or, small notes to myself)

The sun has just slipped out again and the hills are glowing green, green, in a way that sings — unalterably — of spring. I’m eating the last mug of that delightful minestrone soup for lunch and listening to the house creak and settle; small animals (or birds?) rustle over its roof now and then and about an hour ago a wild turkey and I startled each other when I passed by the open door to the back deck. As I work, the deaf cat sleeps in a warm pile behind me and the slightly mournful dog keeps me company at my feet. Tomales Bay stretches out all silvery and blue in front of me, clouds drifting and rearranging themselves above the glassy surface of the water

So hello from Inverness, where I’m spending the weekend with dog and book and man and warm sweaters. (I also have poison oak, a middling 600-ish word story I just banged out on an abbreviated deadline, and a slight case of the sniffles, though these are far less important.) So far today I’ve: woken up at the luxurious hour of 7.30 (with no commute), taken the dog for a swim, had my requisite coffee in town along with a delicious walnut scone, edited a report about industrial cranes, thought about what to cook for dinner (pasta, probably, with more vegetables and a good salad), and tried to work my mind around how I can live out here full-time.

For look, oh, look! How beautiful it is. You can see why I love it so. The city is wonderful, and the best one in which I can imagine residing, but out-of-town has its hold on me and never quite releases its grip. I was spoiled growing up in a small town with ready access to coast and fields and mountains, too. I always thought I’d move out to a small(er) town eventually, but ten years have passed and I’m still living in a city, still carrying my groceries up three flights of stairs, still sharing wall space with anonymous others. It’s not bad, per se (and not at all, really), it’s just that it’s not exactly me.

Yet — what to do? Can I commit to commuting 2-3 hours a day so that I can live in the ‘country’? I could, but the idea makes me shudder. All that free time, evaporating like it never existed. My dad did it for years and I have such admiration for his perseverance; I am not so tough. It’s the endless struggle of modern society, I think. Life is easier in many ways, but in others it’s simply not. Sometimes I entertain fantasies of packing it all up and moving north to a little house near the ocean, buying an old (but reliable) car in which to shuttle around various pups and kids, growing a garden, and taking in baked goods commissions to make ends meet. I am not so often impractical, but in this area I am — truly, I would do most anything to live out here one day. I write it down now so as to hold myself to it.

In the meantime, though —

What I do get to have, I have: a forest through which to walk, taking the dog high, high up on the ridge and winding down through brambles and tall grass back for tea on the lawn. Air that smells of crushed bay leaves and salt and dirt and things growing. Air that smells of spring, of imminent summer, of promise, and the right here and now.

  • Samantha 18 April 2011 at 10:03 am

    isn’t that just it? the smell of “things growing”… i love spring, and all the green that’s popping into your photos and my neighborhood in DC!!