About to give away my twenty-year-old Mazda, I am awash with nostalgia for places we have been together.
. Up the Oregon coast to meet my parents, through Rogue River, Ashland (a valley of pears), and up to Yachats, where we lit our wood fires and gathered agates on the beach and warmed up afterwards with good peaty Scotch in the crow’s nest.
. Monterey, often—the graceful old adobes plastered white, with amiable inner gardens; one where Robert Louis Stevenson stayed while he was waiting for the love of his life to join him, the two of them figuring in Steinbeck’s story “How Edith McGillcuddy Met R.L.S.”; walking down Cannery Row past all the vanished sardine canneries, and on along the ocean to Pacific Grove. At Easter, having brunch on the bay, in the tangy sea air, watching the otters frisk.
. Carmel, Jeffers’s Tor House, the luring cottages.
. The Tassajara parking lot, almost unable to drive after a three-day retreat where I learned to change my handwriting and so my life, to draw the tails of my gs and ys forward into the future, to keep my Cs open to admit more kindness for my mother, to make the loops that might inspire financial good fortune. (Or then again might not.) Rising at dawn, with the running bells, to sit in the hot spring baths and watch the setting moon, before coffee and breakfast.
. Half Moon Bay, so many times. The valley of flowers and pumpkins, ponies, the old general store with local jams and salsas, my favorite jerk spices, snap peas and artichoke bread. Running (sending up a cloud of gulls), walking (a dancing dog; looking out to distant shores), sitting (reading mysteries), eating fish a few miles north on the harbor, and finding my favorite fishing boat, “For Tuna.”
. Sonoma, the mission, the olive trees, Mozart with friends in a vineyard and then tracing out the constellations.
. To Rancho San Antonio, to see the newborn lambs and piglets.
. To campus for writing and archaeology classes.
. Happy beyond believing, to the lamplit cottage of my own true love.
. Panicked, to go and hope to find my mother still alive in the Emergency Room in Burlingame, so many hospital visits ago.
Though the car I’m graduating to (my mother’s) is a year older than the little blue Mazda, so neither new nor glamorous, I’m nonetheless reminded of the poem Back from the Word-Processing Course, I Say to My Old Typewriter—included in my first-ever blog!
image: Mazda 323, IFCAR