Wednesday, August 30, 2006

burning just like moonbeams in our eyes

You take the good, you take the bad, you take it all and there you have... oops, sorry. I don't know what came over me just then.

I am a creature of place, to some extent. Like Maitri feels about New Orleans, I may not be a native but I am no less attached to this city. And yet. And yet. And yet, I can see why some people do not adore San Francisco.

So maybe that is why I am not despondent at the thought of traveling cross-country no less than three times in the next two months. One side effect of this travel is that it mucks up my plans to leave the country to visit W and go on my Gaudi vision quest in October. However, I have to make these trips, and they are acually representative of good news, and truth be told, I hope that I will have to travel even more. Speaking of travel, if the new job comes through the way I am hoping it will, there is a chance that I will have to make a business trip to Prague in November. This would be fantastic. Usually, my work-related travels involves such exotic destinations as...Southern California.

The last of the trips cross-country is what has my mind going a little loopy right now. I spent most of my adolescence dreaming of escaping EBF. When I graduated from college, my parents tried to talk me into working somewhere close to home, but I fled. It was an orbit that got further and further away from its center. Yet here I am, strangely excited about going home.

Now, I went home last June, but it was a very quick jaunt, and for a specific reason. My grandfather was recovering from a heart attack, and I wanted to spend whatever time I could with him. He is fine now and spry enough to be remarking on my need to get back into shape (thanks, Gramps, I'm on it). And he's no longer at my parent's house. All the teeniacs have grown and gone off to school. It's just my parents and some high-strung masis left in my hometown.

But, and I know this makes me a heartless b*tch, it's not really the prospect of visiting my family that has me so gleeful about going home. Before I take home this year's award for Bad Indian Daughter, let me point out that I was subjected to my entire family and then some on a cruise this past summer. What really has me elated is so simple, and yet etched into my memory. It is one of a handful of things that San Francisco can never replace.

In my mind's eye, I see it in sharp focus, absolutely clearly. A pristine, white wooden church with a punctuating steeple against a backdrop of all the colors of fire. The vibrant reds, the burnt orange, the deep purples.

When we were little, my brother and I would play outside towards the end of autumn, when all the leaves had freshly fallen. My father would rake the leaves into large heaps, clearing them from the lawn. It was a futile task; the first breeze would scatter them across the lawn again before he had packed them away into trash bags. We were no help. The mounds of leaves were so inviting that my brother and I would leap into them. I know now that autumn leaves are not soft, are in some ways brittle, and certainly do not break your fall. But I can't remember that. I remember being enveloped by a blur of colors, falling into them, yearning to sleep in that blanket of leaves.

My parents' house now is in one of those neighborhoods where a few trees speckle the streets to give a suggestion of New England. But they do not burst, they do not brim. Not like those trees with leaves so alive (which is ironic since they're actually preparing to die) that they appear to be ripe fruit heavy with the anticipation of falling. However, due to the circumstances of my trip, I will be visiting my family, and then driving to Vermont. To get there, I get to take one of the most breathtaking roads in these United States during the month of October.

Maybe it's not just lip service. Maybe it is true that we return to the place where we started and know it for the first time. Color me surprised at my own satisfaction.

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