Returning to California this past week was like flipping, helter-skelter, through the pages of an old and favorite book, bits and pieces jumbled and flashing all the way up the Pacific Coast Highway. It was a quick trip to take care of business, hardly long enough to look and breathe and most of it consisting of hurried drives to airports and from airports, then up in the air and generally in transit.
I dared to peek over my seatmate’s shoulder as we descended into LAX in spite of my usual suppressed and secret belief that a mechanism so ungainly and fast could not possibly settle down with safety and ease, so that it is always necessary for me to focus hard upon the magical transformation of a plane into a golden bubble. And that leads to the need to spend a few moments imagining the delight of the people on the ground who, looking up, marvel at the beauty and magic of the miracle descendant. But that’s just me. And in spite of superstitious folderol, I did sneak a glance in time to notice the L.A. sky which could be described as a color akin to “brownish”. And that was something of a shock. I guess I had forgotten.
My daughter, Noelle, picked us up curbside and with a freeway verve and confidence that I lost so many years ago, headed up the 405 to the Santa Monica and on to Malibu and the fast and twisty narrow lanes along the Pacific Ocean. From there it was all a replay of an untold number of drives from my past and mainly good.
I could sink back and watch the old familiar sights slip by – the seaside gated entrances and hillside mansions above a seedy Trabuco Canyon Motel, the big climbing rock beside the surf before Point Mugu, the stretch at Carpinteria that used to be Santa Claus Lane, and the lovely slopes of Santa Barbara. By the time we got to San Luis Obispo I was wondering if I would soon feel teary and homesick, but it all whizzed by so fast that I let it pass.
It was good to see the ocean. It was lovely to see the fog drifting over the hill at Avila. And it was grand to have a party evening with friends like Clement and Donna and Ron and Lance and Cindy. And it was the perfect way to drift off to sleep in the guest house bed while listening to our lovely daughters, Noelle and Sheila, laughing together in the next room through the wee hours of the night.
And by the time we had retraced our path and were back on Minnesota’s highway 94, with hardly a car in sight, bound for Fergus Falls – it was clear that it did indeed feel like we were coming home.