Monday, November 16, 2009
Lovers in California
I'm just back from California. I like to fly. It's very introspective for me. Flying is a very childish and pathetic act of rebellion. That makes it touching.
I was in Santa Barbara for the wedding of two beloved friends. Stepping out of the plane onto the tarmac of Santa Barbara's tiny airport I could immediately feel how different the air was. The groom-to-be retrieved me and we went to lunch. Then he dropped me downtown to pick up some things while he ran his own errands. "Be careful" he warned me as he pulled to the curb to drop me in the shopping area "they're all under 18." But no one out there gave me a second look. It's yuppie sprawl. Two minutes out of the car I saw a man stacking up tupperware containers. They each held a snake. Yes, that's about right for the experience I had in the shopping excursion. Pretty carefree and somewhat mindless brats prancing around.
The wedding and it's surrounding activities took place in a campground nestled in a canyon right by the ocean. It's striking, but what it may lack in our eastern coast haze it makes up for in the scent of money.
The first night I was dumbstruck by the sky. It was littered with stars, constellations I'd only ever really heard of were suddenly there.
I didn't sleep much. Up at 5 on the first morning I went for a walk with a book. No one else was out. Desperate for water I walked a little dazed into one of the restroom buildings and saw an informational on the wall about mountain lion encounters. Turning the corner I jumped as a man with furry man boobs was brushing his teeth over the sink. I turned and left without looking back.
Everything was so dry. On the flight in I studied a huge brown fan shape cascaded down a mountain side. That's where a fire blazed recently, I was told. I went up a slope off of the trail through two trees. Up in the dry grass I came across some bones. Fairly sizable ones. It was a little alarming. I sat up further on the hill as the sun rose over the adjacent peak and read. Then I realized I had made myself a pretty easy target for the lions. Then I went to breakfast.
There were friends there whom I love, but most of the trip was much like my life here in Pittsburgh. Feeling pretty alienated and separate. It let up here and there. It's all my fault.
Wildlife I saw: A small snake, two lizards, llamas, an adorable donkey, goats, hawks, herons, gulls, and dolphins.
The ceremony was a simple and sincere Jewish one. It took place on a flat grassy plateau that looked back through the canyon to the ocean at dusk. I was taken aback by how beautiful and touching it was. I feel humbled and grateful. Like how you feel in love.
I made damn sure to book window seats for all four flights. The views were spellbinding. Coming home from San Francisco at dusk over the expanse of the midwest felt like I'd never been to this planet. After nightfall little clusters of electric lights looked a little like this:
But much better.