It started out with a wedding. My good friend from high school. We actually knew each other in elementary, however our friendship didn't solidify until we were roommates. I drove north, just shy of San Jose, and achieved the impossible. I went without Michael or the kids, and I didn't go to San Fran to visit Mom or Dad or the sibs. This one was only me.
This solo journey was Michael's idea. I haven't been out of Maxie's reach since the second day of her life, and evidently the stress of mommydom was taking its toll. Everything I asked of my kids was accompanied by the tone, "What did I just say!!!" And my brow was maintaining a permanent scowl. Even Sebastian secretly told my husband, "I think Papa needs to go away." Okay, then. Away it will be.
The wedding was a good one. A Jewish wedding in a Jesuit winery. Can't get any better. Doubt I'll see another.
Then it was just me. I didn't finalize plans until Saturday, the day I tucked myself neatly into my car and drove north blasting show tunes. Big Sur was my destination. Only two nights. Just enough time to recoup and breathe. California is really odd this time of year. It's green. I mean what-I-dream-Ireland-to-look-like green. I'm so used to dried out, brittle, any-spark-will-set-it-off brown, that I really have been taken aback.
The California coast is as beautiful as any other place I've been. This is my home state, so give me leeway to wax poetic. Lush green mountains loll down to the restless blue surf. And you know that color you see in paintings of waves. It's turquoise, but not. Maybe aquamarine. But in paintings it looks electric and fake. I'm here to tell you, I've seen it in the wild. It's opaque and momentary, magical and then it's gone.
I'm holed up in a place called Big Sur River Inn. It's in from the coast, so you don't get a sense of the mighty ocean. However, Pheneger Creek is on the property. It's babbling and it's golden, something Robert Redford would put in one of his movies.
I've been doing a lot of sitting. Sitting in Adirondacks chairs being hypnotized by the creek, sitting on cliffs taking in the drama that is the California coast, sitting in eateries writing and rewriting my play. All writing has to be done in restaurants because my accommodations are really a shack. No desk and chair. No TV. No telephone (cell phones don't work either). And it's incredibly cold. The only heat comes from a free standing electric radiator that heats only the spot on which it stands, not the bed, not the bathroom. So, I type to you from the restaurant, which has WiFi, even though it maintains a bucolic air.
I'm here to tell you, laid back, stereotyped, hippy dippy culture is alive and well in California. Whether biker groups or potheads of yore, you can find them here, probably scoffing city folk and their ruinous ways. Plaid flannel is the uniform. And if you have magenta hair or body piercings or tats of a hog, jump on in, the water's fine.
I almost went to Hearst Castle today, but stopped myself to walk amongst nature. I think the garish opulence of Hearst would have given me a migraine. Instead I listened to birds sing, wrote some, ate trout with my eggs. There it is...I like being with me. I recommend Big Sur for anyone needing to recharge. Tomorrow, back to the fam. And deep breath.