......."Maa? Papa? They've LEFT US! Traitors! How could....hey, is that a bird outside?"
For the first time since January, we're off to Monterey. I've got high hopes that we'll leave sometime in the morning, but that never quite seems to work out. The cats will likely do this number for a few minutes and then settle down to biting each other and sleeping. Since S. lived there from age nine till about twenty-eight, there are lots of friends to see and Things to Do. Really, we go up to see family and have an excuse to eat chowder at
Lest you think we are entirely gluttonous, SUV-driving slobs, please note that our daily 'commute' consists of walking to the living room or the office, and that I walk to many of my appointments (steps off Defensive soapbox). Sometimes we bunk with S.' uncle - this time we've got the luxury of staying with a friend of ours in his perfect little bachelor pad in Old Monterey. This means a Real Bed, and wine, and long chats about everyone and everything that we've missed since the last time we were up. I can't wait - fortunately I got inspired last night and made a big bunch of chocolate-chip-walnut cookies* that will be just perfect (along with a nice bottle of Babcock) for a host gift. *From scratch, people...stop the presses!
When we were first married (six years in June- when did that happen? What am I going to do for an anniversary present?) we'd buzz up about once every couple of months in S.' cute little sporty car, stay up far to late, drink a little too much wine, more or less feast. I look back and think, "No wonder I got so chunky- all that driving and eating and drinking combined with the Pill and my thyroid quitting altogether- its a wonder I could fit in the car!". Despite all the fun we had in the early visits, I must confess: I didn't always enjoy our trips at first. The main reasons were simple: I was freezing cold, and S. was perpetually talking about moving back up there.
I know how dumb that sounds, but trust me: We could go up there in August, our friends assuring us how nice it was out, and the temperature would drop ten or twenty degrees, the fog would roll in and the wind would start howling. Finally, I gave up listening to the weather and started packing my winter clothes and hoping for the best, which worked out. S. stopped pestering me to move up there after I went over the reasons I wasn't at all excited to move again. (Reason #1: The year we were married, I moved in November, June and October - three times in under a year, and I was sick to death of it.) I wanted to put some roots down somewhere and just relax a bit.
Five or six years later, we talk about pulling up stumps and moving somewhere, anywhere, often. Santa Barbara and Carpinteria will always be my home, the places where I can tell stories about most of the streets. In Carp (Carpinteria locals never say the full word) we used to give out our phone number using only the last four digits, because everyone had the same prefix. I knew someone on almost every street, and to this day am almost chronically unable to give directions based on street names instead of landmarks and "______'s house."
The places you come from really shape you, I believe, not just the way you speak or your choice in music, but who you are. Even your bones absorb the pollens and minerals from the water you drink and the air you breathe as a child. We are all marked, bone-deep, with our home locales, our habitats. They say you can't step in the same ocean twice, that you can't go home again, but they overlooked the fact that if you want it to, home comes with you, wherever you go. I don't know if we'll move to Monterey or Maui or Madrid, but I do know this: I'll always be only a few thoughts from home.