Wednesday, May 22, 2024

You Can Go Home Again

 I took a vacation in the first week of May.  I went back to my high school and college stomping grounds, still populated by many friends of the time.  I needed to get away to refresh my spirit, and I wanted to go somewhere fairly close and manageable.  My physical energy has been low for a long while, so this was also a bit of test to see how I could do with travel.  Lucky me, United flys direct from Denver to Monterey.  Monterey airport is a teeny tiny place that hasn't changed in decades.  They welcome you at the door when you enter from the tarmac.

My first stop in town was to the cemetery where my parents are buried.  It was my first visit since we buried their ashes.  The flat headstone was littered with new mown lawn and dirt.  It looked so insignificant there.  Sigh.

I headed off to visit with my college friend in the condo where she has lived for thirty years.  In the evening we went to dinner on the wharf.  Delicious sand dabs, cooked perfectly, with sautéed peppers and a nice crisp sauv blanc.  We wandered around afterward.

This pink gem is located at the top of the wharf.

As a teen, the wharf was someplace I avoided because of the tourists, but this trip it was a fun place to visit.  Not only did I have dinner there with my old chum, I had lunch a few days later with my ex-wife.  It's been thirteen years and the ending was ugly back then.  Time and tragedy, however, have softened us both and we spent a couple of hours catching each other up on our lives and our children. It was healing and left me feeling peaceful.  Never say never.  People do change.  Not radically, but in meaningful ways.

The great thing about this trip was the connections with my friends that I've known for 45 years.  My dance card was full with them.  It was like a farewell tour, but I hope it's not!

Remember that little house I mentioned a few posts ago?  I went by and took some photos.  I think I could live there again.  If somebody laid 800k on me.

So many memories walking down that street, standing at the gate.  That's where I lived when I married in 1978.  I could listen to the sea lines on the rocks two blocks away as I fell asleep.  The fog horn and the seagulls.  A lovely existence.  I was too young to really appreciate it and now these decades later I wish I could have it back.  It's nothing special, and yet it is.

I stayed at my favorite hotel in downtown Monterey for three nights, then moved out to Carmel Valley to stay at The Lodge.  The valley is a completely different ecosystem - arid, sunny, vineyards and sprawling oak trees.  Very much like the south of France.  Everywhere, even at the coast, the Mediterranean plants: cactus, the spiky Pride of Madera, artichokes, lavender and citrus trees.  The scent from all of these darlings is heady.

More on my wonderful valley stay later.


3 comments:

  1. How wonderful to reconnect with longtime friends, I imagine it must have felt a bit like reconnecting with yourself. Definitely not a farewell tour, but a welcome back to yourself tour, a remember you are loved tour, and I love this evidence that we can indeed go home again. Nice to see you!

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    1. I love your take on it. "A remember you are loved tour." And yes, it was!

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  2. So much of who you are was formed there. It remains a magical place for me. Looking at your photos, I feel I am there again, where the ocean is always a strong presence. My traveling days are over but beloved places in California come to me in my dreams. It's a joy to read about your recent experience there and to read your poem about the yellow cottage.

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Yellow Cottage, Part 2

I have a dear friend who I met in my Creative Writing class my freshman year in college.  I sent the poem to her for her comments and edits ...