Where do we go from here?

California Post #1

So I’ve been criminally absent for some time now but I have SO MUCH to share now. I did make that trip to the Golden State and I had an amazing time, for lack of a better word. Honestly I can’t explain how spending quality time with my family helped me to center and recharge. It doesn’t hurt that I subsisted on real tacos, In & Out burgers, and hippy freshly juiced local veggies. I still miss California like a phantom limb and after 7 years of not living there I realize that feeling will never go away. I’m getting better at managing the loss, however, and was surprised at how much I have come to consider Maryland as my home already.

Every day in the central California valley I would wake up and enjoy coffee with my mum, have a fresh juice and take Paka, my mum’s 3 year old Husky for a run in the quiet suburban morning. Then we would bop around and end our night with Jeopardy and grill.

On my last full day with them, my parents and I got in the car and enjoyed a serene drive into the mountains still dusted with snow. I wanted to go to Yosemite which is only 1.5 hour drive but due to late snowfall the park was still closed. So we went up to Pinecrest towards the Sonora pass.

When I saw this vista, I nearly cried. My eyes were glassy as I was taking photos.  Just looking out onto the beauty of the landscape the ache of that phantom limb vibrated.

We pulled away from the roadside and ended up at quiet mountain lake in Pinecrest.  Trees towered, overgrown with lichen, standing like giants on the hills. We walked among the trees drinking in the sweet mountain air. The ground was cold, still sporting patches of snow. I was only wearing Vans and the cold soon seeped up to my toes.

Before turning back down to the valley we went up further to a roaring part of the Stanislaus river but turned home expectantly hungry for tacos. We made our way home through vineyards and nut orchards. I love the way the hills in California turn golden, I’m  already a believer but I don’t understand how everyone can’t see the beauty all around them.
As we neared Modesto, my step-dad pulled off the side of the road at an almond tree orchard and pulled down a green fuzzy almond burr, he cracked it open and I ate it. The immature almond meat was crunchy and sweet, like a fresh water chestnut. The Stanislaus river actually runs through town and we stopped to see it lethargic and green in the valley, a huge contrast to it’s high mountain roar.

We decided to grab tacos para llevar from the local taqueria. This is muy authentico baby! I chose one pescado (fish) one chorizo (sausage) and lengua (tongue) you don’t know what you’re missing! It was heaven! Then we watched Jeopardy.

My mum and I stayed up late talking about everything and I didn’t want to go to bed. I ended up packing after midnight and my step-dad woke me up to say good bye on his way to work at 3 am. I slept for few more hours and woke up to have coffee with my mum before she took me to the train station, my phantom limb beating like a heart…..

TO BE CONTINUED

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