I’ve had a crush on California since I went to visit my sister for three weeks the summer before my senior year of high school. It was the first time I’d seen palm trees, and ocean with a side of mountains. It was sunny everyday. There was Disneyland, and Universal Studios and Grauman’s Chinese Theater, Beverly Hills, and vegetarian restaurants (and for a vegetarian this was nirvana in 1976, when nary a veggie restaurant could be found). And there were an abundance of blonde boys. It didn’t hurt that she lived in an apartment on Pacific Coast Highway where the waves of Malibu Beach rushed under the front deck, and we jetted around the city in a hot and speedy Austin Healy convertible.
There have been several life situations in which I almost moved to L.A. (read boyfriends), but it was never right, and I never made the cross country crossover. Every time I visit that enormous state, I fall foolishly, madly and passionately in love again. And I wonder, could I do it, could I leave friends and family to start again 3,000 miles from home.
Given last winter, the answer is probably yes. Will I? I don’t know.
But this last week gave me a deeper adoration for Cali than I’ve ever had before. Driving from L.A. to S.F. on the twisty, hold-on-to-your-stomach, HOLY FUCKING SHIT highway 1, you can’t help but think to yourself that California got some damn good genes. Other states must be jealous. Hey midwest, do you feel like the ugly step sisters? It’s hard to get pictures that capture the essence of this drive, especially if you’re clutching the side of the car like an escaped convict holds onto his tenuous freedom. But the depth and natural gorgeosity defies our 26 letter alphabet. WE NEED MORE LETTERS.
I have so much gratitude for this kind of stunningly no make-up, no editing needed, 100% real deal natural beauty. It brings you back to yourself. It reminds you to appreciate the shocking work of art we live on.
Jet lagged and overwhelmed by the natural kick-ass, you have GOT TO BE KIDDING beauty I’ve been privy to for the last seven days, I will just say that I am gosh darn grateful what a cool girl mother nature is. She did some damn fine work on the West coast. Damn fine. Details to follow.
When I travel, I love to look for the itty bitty things that some people don’t notice.
In Santa Monica, the sidewalks aren’t paved in gold, but look what I did find:
What would my immigrant great grandparents think of being able to get into a slab of metal as long as a city block and find yourself across the country? it still amazes me that planes work, that they somehow stay in the air, and get you places it would take a gazillion hours to drive a car, or take a train, or walk to get to.
if I really wanted to freak my great grandparents out, I would tell them that I am typing on a machine on the plane, that will broadcast my words all over the world. Oh look, one of them just died.
The rest of them would die over the fact that you can watch movies and get like hundreds of tv channels, too. Not to mention go to the bathroom.
What can’t I even imagine that will be a total given, a complete taken-for-granted something, something when my great grandchildren are talking about moi?
The act of anticipating is money in the bank. All that star dust rushing around your brain, going about your business with the knowledge that you have a sofa with a secret in your pocket. All the excited blood cells, the partying neurons, the frat-boy-on-a Friday-night synapses. It’s Christmas morning on steroids. It’s the day you fall in love but better, it’s a perpetual half-smile, fireflies in your stomach, two desserts. Driving up the coast of California starting tomorrow. None of us have ever done this before, so it’s crazy exciting. Big Sur, Carmel, Monterey, San Francisco, rocky cliffs, a night in a hotel with no phones, clocks, or wireless. Bring it on Cali. Giddy-up.
Morning solitude is soft and nourishing. It feels kind and hopeful. I love to feel the beat of life, the energy of purpose, but in the morning, before people are even out of their beds pumping the coffee into their veins, there is this, the trees, the empty roads, the open sky, and an invitation to do better. I never think of terrorist plots, or mass killings, or racism, or how many women Bill Cosby drugged during the silent moments of pre-dawn. I just think of breathing, in and out. I wish I could bottle that calm and pull it out when I need it. I could sell it like hotdogs on a street cart in Manhattan. People would line up for blocks. “Calm here, get your calm here.”
Until I figure out that technology, I will get up early, before everybody else and let the air fill my lungs, and the sweetness of possibility inhabit my brain. Ahhhhhh–maste.
I AM OFFICIALLY ON VACATION ON MONDAY. SING IT, GIRLS.
And you didn’t think skeletons were pretty?
That team sure clean up nice.
I would just like to say that this was not the case in Boston in February.
Trainwreck opens today. Getting my Depends Undergarments in place.
I’m sorry, but I want my Atticus to stay just the way he is.
Isn’t this the most heavenly weather, Bean town?