The mud. So help me, the mud. Virginia soil is all red clay, and endless soggy days of rain following a snowy January and February, have made the ground into a great, sucking quagmire. Add in five kids and a giant, dumb puppy-dog, and it’s a disgusting, messy recipe for me to lose it.
Late February always finds me missing California with an aching in my heart. I know back home, it’s poppy season, the daffodils are up, the rosemary is blooming and the apricot trees are starting to bud. It’s hard to believe I left California 14 years ago, but I still keep time by what would be blooming in my peninsula yard.
I don’t actually want to live back in California, with the astronomical housing situation and the water rationing and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad commutes. But I miss the idealized version in my memory.
I miss the way the breeze picks up each afternoon around 2:00, no matter how hot the day. I miss the lovely, thick blankets of fog rolling over the mountains that divide the Bay from the Pacific ocean. I miss the Redwood trees as big around as my living room, and their lovely furry bark that is impervious to fire (did you know that?). I miss the smell of night-blooming flowers and jasmine that are everywhere. I miss six-foot redwood fences that give you privacy in your backyard, no matter how close your neighbors are. I miss the smell of the ocean, and the sound of crashing waves. I miss the taste of salt on my lips, and the wind whipping my hair around as I drive down Hwy 1 south of San Fransisco.
I wrote that eleven years ago. Today, I’d add:
I miss my family living right around the corner, and being able to drop in any time, day or night. I miss being able to attend my nephew’s baseball games. I miss hanging out with my brothers and cousins, doing nothing important at all. I miss meeting up for pizza with all my assorted parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins, to celebrate something- or nothing at all.
Hmmm…I used to miss things. Now I miss people.
Which tells me I need to pay more attention to the people in my life today, and less attention to the mud mucking my floors and pooling in my yard.
Maybe I’m not so grumpy anymore.