Sunday, July 17, 2011
I am now in New England where they are bringing things like maple syrup, lawn mowing, and the Red Sox to a new art form. Though I can abide only one of these past times, I am trying my best to fit in.
There are other strange things about this eastern land, for example, the weather. The rains in Monterey, wild and fierce as they are, generally contain themselves to their own season, the winter season to be exact, and we do not see them during summer. Here in Massachusetts, they come and go, announcing themselves with thunderous warnings but falling, as you'll have it, straight down for lack of ocean winds. I have not known rain like this – beginning somewhere in the heavens and dropping in vertical lines to the ground. And on those days when the clouds cover the brutal sun, people shiver and say things like “Gloomy weather!” and my thoughts of camaraderie fall away again. By contrast, they step into day after day of 90 degrees and declare it “beautiful.” Perhaps if you're a lizard and not an 8-month-pregnant woman acclimated to 65 degree summer days. Perhaps if your biggest goal is to mow your lawn and watch the Sox game.
Normally, I hate air conditioners – all that mechanical whirring to send out artificial air. But these days they are not only my friend in survival, their noise is like a cocoon blocking out the immediate world. I like it. It's why I wear earplugs on planes – not because it will stop the shrieks of the toddler two rows up, but because combined with the noise of the engine, I can close myself off from the reality in front of me and the sound and the feel become dreamlike, with a bit of the quality of being under water, and I can better imagine the angels whose wings support the metal mystery of physics through these 30,000 feet. Back in my airconditioned room, in someone else's house, hungry and not at all sure I won't get lost again on the way to the grocery store, I do not know what the angels do here yet. I am, in essence, waiting for the angels.
The trees here do not include cypress or redwood, though I'm told they throw a party in the fall. They will wow me with colors, I'm told, and for this I should celebrate them and dispense with the space in my heart for soft red bark, for canopies that enclose me but do not block the sound of waves. Where do I go to grieve this lack? They were my church.
We arrived on a Friday; it was one of those “gloomy” days. We were greeted by family who were thrilled to see us and have yet to ask us a single question about our five and a half weeks on the road. We go to lunch and sprinkler parks, the latter surely anomalies in water-starved California. We pick blueberries. We wait for our own house. We joke with the bored high school student operating the “Kiddieville” train at the park and who collects her two-dollar fare from behind iron bars. “Are the bars really necessary?” Mike asks, and she laughs in that way people do when they've discovered something about their own situation for the first time, perhaps always suspecting there was a way to articulate it.