Thursday, July 22, 2021

A Quest

William, Maria, and I have been away. I think any and all in the family would have gladly joined in the adventure, but we had the most flexible schedules. And, here I go: I feel like I am already overthinking this post, including superfluous details, and then apologizing for the excess. Would that I could edit some photos, add captions, compose an anecdote, or two, and publish a succinct, yet riveting, personal, without overexposing all of my neuroses, blog post.

Here are some oak trees. If I had pulled over every time I saw an oak tree I loved, or a barn, seascape, pine tree, rock formation, or farmstand, the trip would have taken four weeks. I actually regret how few pictures I took. These oaks were some of the first things I photographed, and they were at Cachuma Lake. Cachuma Lake is north of Santa Barbara. It's a place I discovered when I resisted intuition and allowed Siri do the navigating. When we stopped here, with all of the Los Angeles County congestion finally behind us, it was feeling like we were going somewhere, and it's been a long time since we had that feeling.
Our destination: Coastal Oregon, to see my Mom and Dad. Stops, and extra bits to include Big Sur, the Redwoods, Portland, Aunt Becky and Debbie's, and Bill and Alison's. My plans were five, single-spaced, handwritten notes with contingencies for everything, except the things I could not foresee. One thing I didn't include in the notes, were many emotional expectations, hopes. I have missed the redwoods. When people suggest meditating, or someone with a soothing voice guides me into picturing my happy place, I almost always find myself in Limekiln State Park, hiking up to the falls, criss-crossing the creek, feeling the soft earth of the path, ferns on either side, stepping on deep layers of redwood duff. The hush in a canyon of mossy stones and towering trees is second only to an evening in a snowy clearing. Take me to Humboldt. Let me walk on trails along the Avenue of Giants, and sit beside the Eel River. I long to breath the air where old trees grow, and elk make trails through clover. I have longed for, indeed needed these places. So, I wrote lots of detailed notes about hotels, miles between stops, places where we could reasonably expect to find public bathrooms, and mentally I grappled with the thought that I am scared of traffic, crowds, surprises, anything unfamiliar, and the possibility that I would not have what it takes to manage everything it takes to travel 2,000 miles. In the end the whole trip was a dare: Go, and challenge your fears, regain your confidence, sit in the woods and breath slowly, deeply, recover, heal, gain strength. Come home well, reignited, in touch with that something that has been elusive, just out of reach. Those unspoken plans, the ones I used to push aside my doubts and fears, were bigger, and more ambitious than anything I had written in those pages of detailed notes. Since coming home, I have felt utterly spent, and increasingly sad. The drive back home is never easy, literally and figuratively, and I am sure that can account for some of my exhuastion, but I am also considering that I feel like I let myself down... perhaps because I expected too much to begin with.
One thing written down: Find a gold goblet! For a few years now, we have been collecting the colored glass goblets made exclusively for the Madonna Inn. We have most of the clear glass colors. If you had told me, when I was 8 or 9 years old, and first gazing in awe-shock at the Madonna Inn, at all of that pink, gilded stuff, at those fancy, over the top water glasses with roses, and each one a different color, that I would one day have my own... I would not have believed it, and moreso, I would have been confused and concerned about what my future was coming to! Is there anything you do now, that you would have been appalled or shocked at in your youth? I think I love the fancy goblets ironically. And I think I love that I love them ironically. It's very puzzling to me. They were low in stock, and missing most colors, due to COVID and the factory closing temporarily, but they did have the one color that our hearts were set on. This was only the start of the trip, and the success was gratifying. Next stop: Cambria, and one little shop we have thought of since our last visit, Spellbound.
Did you follow the link? We were last here in 2014! How has it been so long? Some things I do, and enjoy so much, that I am convinced I will be right back to do them again, to visit soon, often, and then suddenly years have gone by. It's still a sweet little shop with lots of inspiration and wonderful fragrances. It was another of many places where we said aloud that we wished everyone were with us. I'll pause here. We still have Big Sur to drive through, and we will spend the night in Monterey. I will be back to post again, soon... truly.

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