Why is it that, just when you are about to leave a place does it give you a gentle poke to remind you what you are leaving behind? And now, why do I feel nostalgic, homesick for a place I’ve not yet left, when yesterday I couldn’t wait to leave? Was the sky really bluer than it has for days as I walked a new road I’d not discovered this morning?
I felt curious, almost affectionate for this new street. Hmm, weird.
As I was marvelling at the log cabins with windows bigger than the ENTIRE square footage of the majority of homes in the UK, I bumped into a friend of the Princess. Cathleen, an all-American gal with a strong determined jaw and a smile that eclipses her face. She’d just returned from an epic trip (epic because it was with her father and they’d not really gotten along in a while), and she’d had a great time..we made plans to meet up, see her photo’s and discover the glories of Botswana through her eyes. I’d wished I wasn’t going so we could chat, wished I wasn’t leaving the new street I’d discovered that rose out of the bowl of the village. I dealt with this by doing what I always do. An imaginary hand slaps the gripping desire for place and friendship away. Leaving a red mark on my expectations. You see, I never expect people to follow-up. Don’t really have faith they’ll want to know as that moment is passed, and I’m rendered as fleeting and memorable as an orange flash of the Monarch’s gossamer wings, or a thought that fails to hook. Only once in my life have I felt the courage to open up the vulnerable sore inside of me and stake a fragile claim. Show a need. Yeah, where did that get me!
Of course I am excited about my departure for vibrant, chaotic San Francisco. I find the city intoxicating, like alcohol it takes over my system. Fear and abandon mix. I’ll have a little studio to stay in. I’ll pretend I’m a resident. Shop, scout, dance, capture moments in a butterfly net. But I’m leaving more than excess baggage behind. I want to go though..? The other day, when the mountain was still blowing its winter breath, I watched with melancholy, reporters in the forefront of Buckingham Palace, building up the tension to the oncoming Royal wedding and cursed my decision to stay away..extend my trip. Tourists were dawdling in the background…not a jacket or floppy bobble hat in sight. The weather was taunting my travel decisions, like an ex lover, looking more gorgeous than your memory recalled, waltzing passed, showing you what you’re missing. Sucker! That is how I feel about Idyllwild now, this morning. despite my excitement, despite my desperate need to get away and see if a week-long dirge of flu symptoms may acutally be an allergy to pine trees, and despite a diary full of dates and places to go and exciting new vegan foodie places to visit. Despite all this! This is probably not helped by memories of yesterday evening and my walk at dusk…I bumped into Alfred, a fellow walker, then Steve, the witty, kind second-hand book man, and Mim with a sunny smile and hair the colour of a harvest field. ‘Leigh sighting’, ‘Leigh sighting’, they’d chorused as I rounded the corner on South Circle. Steve, Mimi and Peter, faux blonde writer from BC, report the times I swish past on a walk or a run, my ubiquitous movements marking a score system, I think Steve is currently winning. It made me feel special. Wanted. Noticed. I then got to play too..with my own sighting of the Beast of Idlyllwild. Dave, in fur leggings and headgear a la Star Wars. Collectively, they’d rendered me a little lighter, bunged up sinuses and wilted energy forgotten briefly. I’d smiled all the way down the hill, as I followed The Beast to Cafe Aroma and watched the TV cameras, out to capture montages of ‘local reaction’ to a local celebrity, Casey Abrams, and his reblossoming after being saved from elimination last week. I wish I’d got involved a bit more in the slim pickings of Idyllwild night life. Felt a failure as I’d slipped into the oft dug groove in Idy to shut up shop after 7pm and hunker down for the night. Reality though did grant a fragile reprieve as I, pre present snotty state, did spend all the day walking or chatting with friends and the cold night was the best time to sit by the blow heater and progress my writing, ‘a post at a time’. I’d arrived back after my walk too, and some fairy had left piles of food transported magically from a Trader Joes off the Hill for me to squirrel away for my return.
12:00. Noon. Time to grab mixed up me and pull the zip around my suitcase. Adventures await. I will just have to keep two imaginary fingers crossed that Idllywild recognises me with fondness when I migrate through there again. Really, to think otherwise is less of a downgrading of me and more of a lack of faith in the goodness of them. And there is me…. an expounder of the density of great people living and breathing on the Earth!
Enough of this shilly-shallying..San Francisco I’m on my way.