I left the wildflowers and super bloom of the Coachella Valley in late February to spend some time in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was tax time; therefore, it was my task to not only get my taxes done but to get them done for my Mother. So, why not stay awhile and snatch up some solid family time as well? Say, six weeks? Oops, little did I know when I planned that length of stay that I would eventually hanker for the desert. I was getting used to a routine in the Sun City retirement community and liking it more and more (there was no one more surprised than me at this development).
The minute I arrived in the very wet Bay Area, I wanted so much to be back with my husband Dan in the desert. Yet, on the positive side, I planned to spend time with family and grandchildren and celebrate my Mother’s 88th birthday.
A friend called the constant rain, “an atmospheric river” and that is what it felt like. I counted down the days until I could return to the desert, but in the meantime I tried to get used to the rain and count my blessings. Sometimes, if we were lucky, we would have one dry day in the week where rain clouds parted and the sun peeked through.
The opening photo was taken atop a coastal ridge (the discovery site of San Francisco Bay) which overlooks the Pacific Ocean on the west, and on the east side, the San Francisco Bay and SFO International Airport. A double dose of stunning, expansive vistas. As my daughter Meg and I hit the 1,200 foot high summit and I pulled out my camera, she asked if I captured the Raven floating on the breeze, and I replied “I sure did!” I felt giddy because it was pure bliss to be out in the fresh air and I kept remarking how fresh the air smelled (yep, the rains did that, so I guess that’s a good thing) and Meg also remarked how the fresh air felt so good to her soul.
Here is what Meg and I experienced on a rare non-rainy day – who wouldn’t want to celebrate these vistas:
Making memories with my beautiful daughter Meg, Mickey and Panzer:
The second hike I took with my daughter was in our neighborhood local county park and its trail wound through dense vegetation to a height of about 900 feet; we stopped to admire gorgeous stately trees and gnarly branch outcroppings. It was a luscious, verdant feast for the eyes. Rain is indeed the best fertilizer!
Krysti suggested another intermediate hike where she could bring her Akita, Karma. This particular trail ascended 930 feet and was also one I had never taken. It’s hidden off a side road but well known by locals and mountain bikers; in fact, it’s become a second home to my mountain bike loving 14 year old grandson and his friends. We dodged some puddles but since part of the route used to be an old fire road, there were asphalted surfaces that became a luxury for us. After all the drenched days, a gravel path was the exact boon called for at this particular time. It was a joy to be with Krysti and Karma and experience once again gorgeous scenery and blue skies:
Or, when California experiences one too many droughts, we recall the days when rain was more abundant and we resort to praying in labyrinths or we close our eyes and wish real hard! In these two photos below, my grand kids exhibit one focused intention and no doubt their innocence and earnestness awaken a soft spot in the heart of the Creator. Something seems to have worked because the Bay Area is experiencing its rainiest season in 36 years!who set aside time for me and made sure that I was not feeling too isolated in my little apartment while away from hubby.
In thinking of the word isolation, it is my thought that it’s the bane of human existence. Every person, I’m convinced, yearns to love and be loved, and to connect with others. I realize that I personally need to make an effort to reach out to others and not just sit back and expect things to come to me:
“My participation in everyday, ordinary life is a small but firm step away from the pain of isolation and toward a life of loving involvement. Life is for the living. Today I will involve myself in the joy of living…All of us deeply desire to belong.” (From the Alanon Daily Reader Hope for Today, p. 309)
A friend who is a fitness and yoga instructor told me that social connections are more beneficial for the brain than the computer brain games that are ubiquitously advertised. I nodded in agreement because for me having family and friends in my life is essential to my well being. And for me, it’s not about quantity, it’s about quality. They are the life giving light that sustains me.
As my six week visit to NorCal came to an end, I told folks that I was going “home”. HOME? Did I hear myself right? Yes, I’m calling the desert home now – something shifted and I don’t feel completely at home in the San Francisco Bay Area where I lived for 56 years. It’s changed and so have I.
I’ve happily reunited with hubby and fun outdoor activities and laughs with new retirement friends await me. But on the flip side, I won’t have grandchildren just minutes outside my door, so that will make the next time with them even more precious. I’ve learned not to take anything for granted, least of all the most important people in my life. I told my Mom on her 88th birthday how blessed I feel to have her in my life and how much I love her. What a turnaround – I could not have said that 10 years ago for a number of reasons. It goes to show that the seeds of transformation and growth are within each one of us, and all we have to do is be willing and make a choice. No matter what, we can open ourselves to the power of Grace.
Every minute is precious and we never know what will happen from day to day; maybe I’m just getting more sentimental in my old age, or maybe…. I’m just getting smarter! The companionship I enjoy with family and friends is evidently good for my brain.
May light, laughter, friends and family grace your path often.