I’m Going To California

Patrushka and I leave Wednesday for California – for a week in the home country.  I’ll try to keep a record of how my homeland looks in the summer of 2008.

I’m a little afraid of what I’ll find there.  Will there be a pall of  yellow forest fire smoke over the land?  Will gas cost $5.00 a gallon?  Will temperatures away from the coast top 110 day after day?  Will the live oaks that cover the golden hills be withered and leafless from sudden oak death blight?

We’re going to fly to Oakland, rent a car there, then make our way down the coast 350 miles to Santa Barbara for a big family wedding.  We’ll stay a day, then turn around and roll back up the coast for a couple days in the City before we fly back to the North Country.

I wonder if this will be the last trip of this frivolous kind I ever take.  In a way I’m squandering resources on a trip I don’t really need to take, just as if global warming and peak oil had never happened.  Like most everyone else, I’m having trouble adjusting my worldview.

It’s only my great-nephew’s wedding (gad, that makes me feel old).  If we don’t go, we won’t be missed.  Except possibly for my sister and my niece.  I hardly even know the groom, I haven’t seen him in years.  But I want to stay in touch with that side of the family.  Family is, well family.  You only get one.  And I’m lucky enough to like mine.

Like so many Americans of my generation, I’ve spent my life wandering from place to place.  Itchy feet, I guess.  Wherever I saw a deck of cards I laid my money down.  Now my own kids are scattered all over the forty-eight.  Patrushka and I landed in an isolated little city far off in the northwestern farm country.

My older sister, on the other hand, never left home.  In 1955, she moved across the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito where she’s lived in the same house ever since.  Now she is matriarch of a great tribe of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, all of whom still live in Marin Country, and some of whom are probably hanging out together at this very moment.  They’re a tightly knit clan, and I, an outsider, a wandering ponderer, look at them with awe and respect.  Good going, guys!

So we fly to California tomorrow to celebrate another wedding in that noble family.  I’ll keep notes and file a report on our return next week.

Photo by Patrushka


4 thoughts on “I’m Going To California

  1. Chris-
    Sure, it’s a bit smokey, and gas is over $4.50 for regular, but it’s still California, and you’re travelling through some of the best parts, as you know. I’ll miss you by a week or so as i head to San Luis Obispo later this month.
    If anything, you may share my unease at the congestion and pace of San Francisco, which seems so frantic and claustrophobic compared to my memories of it. But then, that’s a large part of why I left twelve years ago.
    Have a great time, and I’ll be eagerly awaiting your account.


  2. I have re-written my comment here now for the fourth time. Damn, I’m pissed. I wanna be responsible and austere, but it escapes me.

    I’m glad you and Patrushka got to travel to California . I’m glad I got to spend the last week in Puerto Penasco. Wandering is an integral part of Americana, and it’s a part you and I and every other fellow traveller doesn’t wanna lose out on. How do we show our righteous anger over gas prices and still satisfy our wanderlust? Frankly, my friend, I don’t see it happening. The wanderlust is more important than the cost differential. I’ll probably never give it up and I don’t want to, do you?

    Maybe we’re stuck being irresponsible hipsters for the rest of our lives. Some are blessed with sedentary spirits, but others of us are destined to seek higher, lower, weirder ground. Someone has to be the Magellan or Columbus or Erickson, wandering free to see new stuff or re-claim the old.

    I sometimes feel like we live in soulless times, devoid of purpose or adventure, and we pursue this flaccid existence of complacency with not near enough verve or angst or rebel spirit.


  3. Pingback: On The Road in California, Summer 2008 « the pondering pig

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