We just returned from a vacation in California, to see our good friends and mentors in San Diego, and to visit my sister and her husband in the desert somewhat nearby (as far as California distances are concerned).
Vacations are a heady thing. Oh, to see the world! There is so much out there, it’s a big world filled with so much. Landscape, nature, culture, and people. There are the anonymous people who throng by as we visit places, and there are the ones we love.
Love isn’t easy. It’s my nature to feel very deeply, but to hold it in, to hold it back. It’s not in my character to be too effusive. I remember as a kid, my parents would have birthday parties for me and invite family over. I’d make a cake with my mom and would get to help decorate it. We lived in a bungalow, and I’d sit and watch and wait, looking through the big windows in the living room, so excited for family to arrive. But I’d always play it cool. There was no jumping around, no excited exclamations when they arrived- just my usual shy smile as I took the gifts they brought and placed them on the window seat in the dining room carefully, waiting patiently for present-opening time.
I still practice this careful restraint of excitement. I am always enormously happy to travel, to see beloved friends and family.
And this time, it was no different. I’ve been fortunate enough to have visited California seven or eight times, with half of those visits being to San Diego. Of all the places I’ve been, I love California the most, especially that beautiful southern part. The cool weather, the ever present sunshine, the relaxed lifestyle that all of that brings- oh, it’s divine. But it’s not just San Diego. My sister and her husband live in the desert, and that has its own beauty too. We went on a blazing hot hike in Joshua Tree National Park, and I loved it. I love weird, desert nature. I loved lying face up on my sister’s patio, looking at the stars, which are magnificent in the desert. I loved floating around in their pool on a blue raft. It’s one of those moments I wanted to last forever and ever. And then we visited Palm Springs briefly for lunch, and it’s wonderful, and immediately I know I must return- I want to see the art galleries, the shops, and absorb all the culture there.
All of this excitement has an end, though. Perhaps that’s why I hold my excitement in check. On vacationing, visiting, eventually you must pack your bags and say your goodbyes. And I try not to think about them too much. Here are these wonderful people who love me, who hang my art on their walls, who enjoy my company and don’t ask for anything other than that- my companionship.
Home is good too. It’s nice to see my house, my cats. I love my home, but it’s hard, knowing that a piece of my heart is there, out west, among the Joshua Trees, the California sunshine, the beaches and all the stars overhead.