Driving on these roads, these roads that I grew up on, these roads that taught me how to drive. Its so surreal. It’s as autonomous as breathing. I get lost in thought. Memories attached to every passing location. The bank that I got my first car loan at and still have accounts with. That print shop we got tee shirts from for the 5k we organized for the town that one time. The gym I used worked at and would bike the seven miles to and from everyday. The road that is so beautiful it always makes me cry when I drive down it because I feel so connected to life. Finally, today’s destination, the apartment complex I used to live in, the one I loved, the one I called home for longer than any other dwelling place in my history.
My heart starts beating uncontrollably, my throat tightens and my nose tingles and everything gets kinda blurry as I blink away the emotion. Cali. Her essence is strong here. I can see her running around in the grass ignoring my calls and sniffing till she is sneezing uncontrollably. I wonder if her little canine brain ever remembers our life together. I see snowy days and sunny days. I see me practicing handstands and tumbling in the grass next to my blanket and coffee and journal.
And then the tears come. Not as a longing for past days but as an honor of the life I lived here. It was perfect for that time. It helped create the girl I am today and I wouldn’t change a single detail of it, good or bad. I take a walk. The patio that was my nurtured nest above the town still has a crocheted plant holder hanging from it even though another family dwells there now. Funny.
Off to Mica Beach. I forgot my rock collecting satchel. Maybe it’s better I don’t take the whole beach with me back to California in stony pieces…
It’s way overgrown. Like no one has used this space since I’ve gone. Side stepping poison ivy and batting away mosquitos, these things That I have been lucky enough to miss. I notice that a tree has fallen at Mica Beach Number One as I look down from the trail. I walk to Number Two and spend a moment there. I’m saving my favorite for last. The fresh, softly flowing water tickling my eardrums is cold and crisp. I don’t want to stay here, I’m going to Number Three. The toads and I hop along the trail a little further.
My steps are conscious and deliberate, my feet have memorized the way. Boy, is it overgrown. Mica Beach Number Three is barely accessible. I’ll be looking for ticks at the end of this day I’m sure. It’s not as welcoming as it once was. Even the energy has changed. Could that have been my once constant presence here? I’d like to think so.
Mica beach Number Three is inaccessible by land, I’ll have to walk up the river but for now I want to sit and be. Take it all in and be so grateful for this place and its contribution to my soul. So many life events happened and unraveled in my soul here on these very stones. I want to notice every piece because one day when I come back to visit I won’t come here again and it’ll be “that place That I loved that one time,” it’ll be my past as already it is slipping into the past. Maybe this time here is a goodbye, an acceptance and honored love of what was while consciously stepping onto a new path. As my right foot has already made contact with the next beloved pathway that journeys through my life, this visit here is my left foot still very much planted on this path of my past and it is about to lift off and follow in suit.
It feels like a dream. A perfect, cherished dream with a taste so sweet I want to remember it forever.