The Beginning of a Journey
The beginning of a journey always has an almost nostalgic feeling to it. A sense of familiarity in the expectation of the unknown to come. All journeys start the same way: the last minute chaos of packing, the sweet satisfaction of zipping up your bag when everything had been settled and sorted and stowed, the thrill of shutting of the lights and turning down the heat and locking the door behind you. The start of the ignition, the moment of panic when you think you've forgotten something.
I left late in the day which means that by sunset I was still many miles from the Bay Area, driving through pastel tones fields and irrigated meadows which reflected the California watercolor sunset as the day gently rolled into night.
Arbuckle, Winters, Vacaville
I slipped into the little familiar house in Berkeley after its inhabitants- family friends who'd known me since before I was born- had already gone to bed and left in the early hours of the morning, hopping into Nicole's van before the dawn had moved the bay fog from the hills. After sleepy coffee and the back and forth storytelling that accompanies any new friendship we are now on the southbound, driving in the van that she tore apart and rebuilt through the dry rolling hills and eucalyptus groves of California.
Signs proclaim fresh cherries, honey, and garlic as we trundle onward, the grey predawn light brightening to a hazy morning glare.
Esperanza, Gonzales, Soledad, Atascadero
The day ended with us driving once again toward Los Angeles, through the chilly yet somehow still balmy California night. The air smelled faintly of rubber and faintly of salt and the lights of huge oil rigs could be seen in the distant ocean, but right by the freeway the moon glinted bright and close on the waves, keeping pace with us as we bumped and rolled southward.
To the left someone had lit a fire up in the hills which flickered and danced against the dark.
But this is California dark, not the cold sharp crystalline dark of the north, but a soft velvet night, permeated by a faint but persistent glow of nearby cities and boats out at sea and the hazy little crescent of the moon overhead.
48 minutes to go.