Monday, March 21, 2016

State Project: California

California is being two years old in San Diego and seeing the ocean for the first time. My aunt says I pointed at it and said, "Pool."

California is my kindergarten year in Palm Desert. Learning to ride a bike. Spending the night at friends' houses. Tiny lizards in the tamarisk trees. Chicken pox. Losing my first tooth. Visiting my aunt, my godmother, my sister's godparents.

California is visiting. It is vacation. It is deserts and mountains and ocean and date palms.

California is coming to the realization that we aren't really friends anymore but I'm still going to have you in my wedding because I'm not at the point that I can say goodbye yet.

California is a scent in the air when, living on the gulf coast, the wind would shift and the salt and wet and sand would blow in from Galveston. That smells like kindergarten, I would think.

California is a honeymoon in San Francisco.

California is returning 10 years later with my girls.  It is Yosemite and Big Sur and hauntingly beautiful places that don't seem to share the same reality with the safe grounded place I call home.

California is giant trees and smoothly polished granite creek stones. It is cats in windows in Chinatown and a wok I use every week.

California is Irish coffee staring out at the piers with a baby in a sling on my hip.

California is meeting my cousins for the first time and having a yearning for family I couldn't name until I found it as an adult.

California is late night phone call when you tell me you're in love with me but the reciprocal isn't true.

Have I been to California? Always.