Wednesday, April 16, 2008


It's mornings like this, 58 degrees, cool, gentle breeze, that send me right back to California. At least in my mind.

I opened the door to our back area, walking the Rabbit to school this morning, and got slammed into a memory of walking to the car with my mom when I was 10 years old. An April school morning, wearing a sweater I already knew would be way too hot by recess time. Dew collecting on grass, slivers of bright sun slicing through the big Jacaranda tree across the street. That smell of wet and bright and just a tinge of warm.

I never knew how much of that would worm its way into my genetic code.

I've lived in Manhattan over two tours of duty adding up to about 13 years. When I moved here in college I remember being as equally jolted by the city. Just walking out in the morning sparked me far more than coffee. (I wasn't imbibing caffeine yet. That soon corrected itself.) Everything was a rush from the street art in Soho, to the water towers I could spot from my tar rooftop perch where I'd end many days just watching the city. (Water towers! Who'd EVER seen water towers? Not me.)

Nothing was ever more magical. No one loved New York as much as I did.

But now. All I know is that this morning it actually hurt, not being able to smell some eucalyptus, as I walked back to my box flat. I kept trying. Lifting my head, magically thinking something might catch on the breeze. But all the city could offer were bus fumes, and clipped topiaries of forsythia trying to bud.

I know wishing for what you don't have is the fastest route to deep unhappiness. But tell that to my DNA.


Anonymous said...

I'm dreaming Carmel and Monterey and that glorious ocean.
Sounds like vacation is overdue MM

sarah said...

Thanks for this post. It is very heartening for me. Husband's company is moving us to California at the end of June and I've been near apoplectic over the idea of uprooting our lives to a place I've never even considered living until now.

Your sweet memory makes it just a bit easier to imagine our lives there.

Manhattan Mama said...

Hey Sarah -
All moving is so hard. When The Prince got transferred to London I was both excited and terrified. The city was a huge adjustment -- not just new terrain, but new country! But that's where I met YLM, a great, dear extraordinary friend. And so I believe that major change is both terrifying and wonderful! I hope you come to love California. It's wild, and magical. My best advice? Just let yourself sit a bit and allow California to settle into you.