Tuesday, July 17, 2007

All the Way Home

I left work tonight after sunset and drove westward toward the Santa Cruz Mountains instead of east toward my apartment. It had been a long, rough day, but there was something I wanted even more than to get home and fall into bed.

As I crossed the San Andreas fault, I came into the country of lion-colored hills crowned with oaks. As twilight deepened, I drove north along 280, sometimes called the most beautiful freeway in the world. The mountains to the west were dark as slate, and the frothy dark clouds of the marine layer were surging over them. Above, in the clear sapphire sky, hung the crescent moon and the evening star.

I kept my windows open to the night air, fragrant with grass and leaves and earth, and I watched the long ridges, almost lightless, running between the highway and the sea.

If I drove up one of the steep, tortuous roads and into the mountains, I would find rolling meadows with clefts concealed by scrub. Then, as I went higher, higher, the Trappist dignity of the redwood groves. The towering sequoias always seem both aware of visitors and heedless of them. Their size and age give them a natural authority. Their presence is restful -- a day in the redwoods is a spiritual retreat.

But tonight I needed to get home, I couldn't drive the labyrinthine roads into the woods, or walk silently through the darkness. Just passing by, though, was enough, almost enough.

Sometimes my family back east asks how I can stand to live in the urban sprawl of the Silicon Valley megalopolis. But there's scarcely a spot here where you can't look up and see the wild hills.

Six years ago, I got on a plane with a suitcase, a laptop, and a yowling cat and flew 3000 miles to San Jose. Moving to the Bay Area made enormous changes to my life. Here I've found more new friends and love and natural beauty than I thought my heart could hold. And I found home.

1 comment:

Joe Decker said...

What a lovely post--and, umm, thanks for the linky. ;)