Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Departure & Drive

One more look at the zinnias, the ones we brought when we came from Portland to Mom and Dad's. One more look at all the pictures I took the morning of our departure, and I regret I took so few. Even those few are making me cry, because I wish I were back there, again. Which is not the same as wishing I had stayed longer. Our visit was brief, yet full, complete. It's only that, some time has passed, and it would be so good to be there for another brief and fulfilling time. To see how the blackberries are progressing, to get pasta in North Bend, walk the Labrynth at the Dunes. I'd ask Mom to make her oxtail soup, and I'd watch all the steps, so I can make some at home. I'd like to observe her sorting through her beads, or see if we could find the photograph I remember, of me sitting on a tricycle, wearing a candy necklace, and my brother, Bill, next to me, in a small plastic baby seat. We could put on proper coats and build forts on the beach, with driftwood, and our cotton wraps, which would dance enticingly and look cheery in the late summer light. I don't require long visits, but frequent and casual stays, regular hugs, familiar corners and objects on shelves, the smell of corn tortillas toasting on a comal, the sensation that my Grandmother might emerge from her room at any moment, and the comfort of my Mom doing or saying something that only my Mommy would say or do.
We packed the cranberry loaf Dad picked up for us, and of course luggage, pillows, shoes, books, the cooler. And of course, we were heading home with so much more than we brought. My sticks and stones and feathers, our books, a wooden box, other treasures. Mostly things that I realize are an attempt to hold fast to the good way I feel when I travel, when I visit favorite places, new places, when I want to keep the sights and smells, the emotions as close and tangible as I possibly can... an impossible feat. Pictures help, and as usual, I am home, with sticks on shelves, and feathers in a cup, all these photographs, and wishing there was more. Wishing there were more, and understanding that more stuff is never going to be a substitute for walking through redwoods, and quaint, inspiring neighborhoods, nor for lingering around the breakfast table, chatting, sharing fond memories. *sigh*
Maria's Grandmother asked for her signature on the book published by the Creative Writing Club, The Thread. I took a few more pictures, Mom and Ron holding each other as we closed doors, fastened seat belts, backed away. And then we were on the highway. Back to retracing those 1,000 miles home. It's hard to understand how we make it, drive all those miles, when I already felt drawn to staying in place, and ahead were more places that lured me, tempted me to stop and take pictures, linger, admire, wish. It takes so much will, and homesickness, too, I suppose. There's nothing for it, but to keep going, if we are ever to get back home.
And Oregon was not playing fair! How could I be expected to drive, when the usual fog and clouds were peeling back, revealing deep blue skies, wave cut bluffs, dunes, driftwood, miles of forest, shady glens, creeks, rivers, vistas?
Arizona Beach State Recreation Site, Oregon
Somewhere in California. Ah! Found it. Wow, I love Google Maps. Swallows were nesting at the Thomas H. Kuchel Visitor Center, in the Redwoods. The last time we were in this area, we hiked the gorgeous Lady Bird Johnson Grove trail. And I remember feeling a bit too daring about taking the old logging road getting to that trail. It did not seem legit. We've got to go back!
This time we were on a bit of a time crunch, so that Maria could get online for Dungeons & Dragons. We made it to downtown Eureka, where, like our first visit, we found a lot of closed shops, even at 4 in the afternoon! That was disappointing. But! Eureka Books was open! And that was a wonderful visit. And then we saw a tea shop, and I was very pleased to meet with friendly, knowledgable people to talk about loose teas, and special mixes, at Humboldt Herbals. It smelled so soothing, and pretty in there, which is a nice thing to experience after a long drive, and another hour or so to finish the day. And when we got to the hotel, and learned the restaurant we were looking forward to having dinner at was packed, unmasked, and not doing take-out orders, we were so extra thankful to Mom and Dad for the cranberry bread, and fruit they got for us. One day down. Three to go.

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