In the morning my husband and I crowd the hammock, tilting it precariously, sloshing coffee on our robes. […]

In the morning my husband and I crowd the hammock, tilting it precariously, sloshing coffee on our robes. The day promises heat– I say to Philippe “On a day like this, it feels like Spain, I wish I was in Seville” and he says “Why can’t you just be happy to be here, in the backyard, instead of at work. Why do you have to wish you were somewhere else?” Why can’t I? Why can’t I love Palo Alto the way I love Spain?

Later I’m driving, running errands, it’s hot like summer. Suburban buildings slide by and I slide a Ry Cooder into the CD player: “it’s that part of the movie” I think as the music begins. Only the insistent scent of jasmine and the throbbing cut on my foot prevent the experience from being entirely cinematic. I am more than a pair of eyes and ears; I feel, I act, I am unscripted.


There is too much technology in my life– I need to fight for the balance. I pushed an old rusty mower across our yard in the afternoon. It works unevenly, cutting some blades, merely bending others. I mowed barefoot, keeping my toes from the mower blades, but letting them embrace the sensation of the damp cut grass. After, I collapsed into the hammock, and was soon joined by a (flock? swarm?) a dozen wasps. I couldn’t decide if I should keep still, move gently or run away. After some thought and more wasps showing up, I opted for moving gently away.

In the evening my husband drives us to San Francisco. We take two hours to do it, driving small winding roads. On highway 85 I yell and throw my hands into the air to catch the wind, eucalyptus dappling the sun on my face and shoulders. Then I hang out the window like a puppy. I have such a big smile on my face, a bunch of Indian tourists who have stopped to look at a view spontaneously wave at us– I wave back. It’s not a queen wave, but a big nine-year-old-kid wave, requiring the entire arm. I keep thinking “I don’t have to live forever, I just have to live now.” I know it is a trite thought, but it is still exactly true.

Then the ocean appears in the dips between the green rolling hills, and 85 hits highway 1. The cliffs along the ocean startle me again with their beauty. After 14 years of driving highway one, I’d think they wouldn’t but they do. It’s no less affecting than when I was 22, driving my old fiat down from oregon, hungry, near broke and ready to be a californian. Now the sun is low, making all the colors saturated: the ocean more blue, the cliffs more orange.


Finally san francisco, and dinner, family, conversation, then home to sleep. I stare up at the stars and realize orion is gone– I suggest to my husband we need to visit a planetarium. I need a new constellation.


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    GREAT stuff! I so agree. I’m just like you–whining to be back in Hamburg, walking along the Binnenalster or riding bicycles down by the harbor or to be in Italy, walking the alleys of Trento.

    your writing reminded me of Tom Waits. Great travel stuff.

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