Wednesday, January 16, 2013

photo-2

When I heard my housemates were planning a trip to San Francisco without their young daughter, I said, "Can I come?" I was sure they would pick up on the playfulness in my voice.

"Sure. Yeah, you should come." And that was that.

I figured it was meant to be. I had been thinking about San Francisco and the magic it's brought me the past two winters. Now I'm convinced that when it calls, I should go. It knew, I think, that I would need some clarity, that ability to see for miles and understand the geography around me, how things fit together. The city can be overcast, misty and foggy, but this past weekend I understood the phrase crystal clear. Things were sparkling. The water in the bay when I ran along the Embarcadero on Saturday morning. The sun bouncing off rooftops and windows as we stood on Twin Peaks, seeing the whole city spread out before us. The stars in the open night sky as we drove through central California on our way there.

San Francisco also knew I needed a destination and a clear way to it. I was a bit stressed when I woke up on Friday morning to hear that the I5 was closed through the grapevine because of snow and ice. This kind of thing is not supposed to happen in California, at least not the California that I know. And the only detours would take us hours out of the way on unfamiliar routes to get around the mountains. I'd had enough of detours in life recently. But the ice melted and the freeway opened up. We drove through the dusty mountains as the sun dropped behind them. And when we were through, just like that, they dropped off into flat land for miles, the mountains only hugging us from a distance to our side, reassuring us we were headed north. We drove and drove, nothing before us but flat land, and I was grateful for an easy way forward, for arriving on time, for the dependability of the road, the map, the timing. I was grateful for an expanse that helped me think beyond the little life I try to tuck myself into so often.

On the drive back, I felt ready to go home. Trips are always bittersweet because, while they're a fun escape, there's always the returning that's so hard. But somehow San Francisco knew what I needed to return me back home with excitement for what lies ahead on this journey.

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