Friday, December 15, 2006

Back to the Coast

I live a double life. In one life, I get up into a gray dawn in a gray post-industrial city and this time of year, facing east, stare out at bare branches and the slim chance of a streak of sun before lake effect overcast takes over. I plod in to teach at my university and hope there's still a cup of coffee left in the office carafe so I don't have to make it. I methodically turn on my computer in my windowless office, consult the syllabus I optimistically crafted in balmier times and get ready for class...I am structured and orchestrated and choreographed and responsible and, and, and...

In my other life, I wake up facing southeast over the LA Harbor and make green tea and get the LA Times off the street that slants sharply down toward Fort MacArthur with its big green commons and red roofs and beyond that, marinas full of little yachts and massive concrete slips for container ships from China and Japan. In this life, the colors are emerald and azure and white and red. From our bedroom, my husband and I see two graceful palms and sometimes parrots perch and squawk there. At night we sometimes hear seals bark down in the rocks. I dawdle and write and look out to sea and sometimes I do nothing.

So tomorrow I fly out of the gray and into the blue to sweet California, where my husband waits and my body stretches out in the tangy sea air. Even thinking about it now, my bag packed, the violets watered and the bills paid, I feel myself slow down. I'm grateful for the unbending, the opening up, the way I feel renewed in my coastal life. I'm grateful for the world that lets this be: the privilege of this fertility, this gentle turning, this balance.

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