During my days here this time I was able to hold onto the familiarity that comes with knowing a place so well without being reminded of why I moved away. (Perhaps the weather did have something to do with it). The neighborhoods I lived in beckoned me in with good and strong memories and I smiled alone in the car as I brought myself to familiar places. The pace of each day was soft and easy, there was not much to do, and so I was able to sit in the comfort of the towns that I know.
I did not miss California.
Perhaps because I feel more settled there and so loving being here was not a threat to that. Perhaps because I see now that I have two homes not just the one that I live in at any moment.
I think there was a time, in this transition from east to west, where I felt the need to plant my loyalty firming in one soil. For how could I grow roots in the dry, brown earth of the west coast if I was still watering the plants that had so lovingly grown tall in the moist, dark soil of Massachusetts.
I did not really think about this. It was not a mindful, throwing my eggs into one basket kind of decision where I pulled myself out of the New England dirt, ripe with nutrients and full of memories, and intentionally set myself deep into the California landscape. Because I do not think it entered my mind that I needed that separateness when first we moved away (from here, or moved to there). But on this visit, where there was a shift in awareness and a deep taking in of my surroundings, I realized that I had stepped away from all that I love about here, so as to truly embrace all I love about there.
But I see that I belong to two places now. And because the celebration of being here does not take away from the good life I live now in California, I am able to let myself really enjoy the beauty that is only Massachusetts. The smells that are ripe and full. The light that shifts throughout the day and lands against the trees and the sides of buildings. The rhythm of the people who live here. The flight of birds and the bustle of dogs.
And then I can go home, to my west coast heart place, and take that in, too. Feel the stillness of heat that rises up each day when the coolness of the now autumn nights lends a few hours of relief. Harness the ocean winds that come up through the valley many miles away and cool the heat against my face as I sit on my porch overlooking orange groves that run down below me. Embrace the softness of the dry dirt that hungers for rain this coming winter and the brightness of the moon each night as it rises up from the red sunsets that fall over the water and reflect against the mountains that surround this place I, too, call home.