daily we are cautioned to embrace the journey. love the highs. learn from the lows. forget the destination. this is not easy. at least for me. I’m impatient. thrilled with the takeoff. headed somewhere. with the notion of arrival. it takes something big and awesome or small and stinging or something tenacious and afflicting to get me to stop this pursuit. the chase of the high. the push to get there already.
My fascination with Los Angeles began quite young, younger than I can pinpoint. But my first visit to the West Coast occurred the summer after I graduated from 8th grade. My parents sent me to spend the month of July with my aunt and uncle who lived in a LA suburb with two of their four children still at home. This was fairly common practice in a large extended family. A few years either I had been sent for a two week stay with relatives in Montreal. But this trip, to California, made me the envy of everyone I knew in New Jersey. I pictured myself an overnight surfer girl. Taller, leaner, tanner, practically living on the beach, basking in the sunshine. It was the assumption of everyone I knew that I would return with golden hair and honeyed skin (despite the fact that my hair was a deep auburn and had skin that only reddened under the sun). Instead of this fantasy, my days were quite mundane: I learned to sleep to noon, eat drive-through burgers, and in fact, spend hours driving, for nothing was close in sprawling Cali. Strip-malls were everywhere and really there were as far as my aunt and uncle’s cultural foray drove me. I stepped onto a beach once. After the month, despite my friend’s disappointment over my pasty complexion, I vowed to return to the indigo sky lined with tall palms and air perfumed with night-blooming jasmine. Even that one could glean from the backseat.
Hard to believe I’m headed out of Vermont again so soon, but lucky for me I am. Away from the lingering snow, the gray skies, my hectic schedule and my computer screen, for a whole week. I’m flying to the land of sunshine and flowers and ocean and stars. Yes, you guessed it, I’m embarking on my April Los Angeles visit (with a side-trip to Palm Springs)!