I don’t know why I’ve been avoiding this. Writing. Figuring things out. The Scary Silence. The deadline-less lifestyle. The lack of traffic and noise. The simple, simple life I lead. Surely, in this floatation passage of Week Three Without a Home I have figured out some Epic Truth About Life?
I haven’t heard the St. Winifred’s Grappenhall Church bells yet. No rainbows. No shooting stars.
Fleeting moments of wisdom sail across the sea, bringing tears to my eyes. And then, just as suddenly, I forget what moved me and lounge chair-rest into The Moment, you know, the state of just being, a wave pattern of bliss; nothing else matters but the here and now.
I sleep late. I’m resting better than I have in years. Yes, I get up, toss and turn—courtesy of my aching bones. But I am sleeping soundly beneath the stars, to the sound machine of the beckoning ocean waves. Sometimes, I think about the “shoe” dropping, a problem that is expensive or I can’t solve; problems with the house, the sale of the house, my bank robbed, or the engine of my 21-year-old van blowing up (even though I just spent a ton of $$$ fixing it). Worries are still there, but they are pale blue instead of Las Vegas neon.
I am enjoying my wine.
Over the last three days, I have consumed 1½ bottles of wine. By myself. Me. Alone. Solo. Starting with dinner—olive bread, tomatoes, basil, mozzarella cheese, green peas, a handful of walnuts—my first night. Adding a Chardonnay from Castle Rock today at lunch and finishing last night’s J. Dusi red wine blend (all-women run company) as I consume the last chapter of a book I’ve been reading for months, Sue Monk Kidd’s “A Book of Longings”. The book, if you haven’t read it, is about the imagined wife of Jesus, Ana. She longs for, thus the title of the book, respect and a chance to pursue a career beyond her marriage to her very cool, very hip and adorable life partner. While the premise may offend some, I appreciate Kidd’s, “I wonder what would happen if….?” curiosity and her exhaustive research. 10/10 for originality, writing style and escapism.
So, what is so pressing that I felt the need to pull out my laptop and document my status quo as I sit beneath the blooming stars and almost-full moon at a not-perfect camp spot near Cambria, my most favorite place on the planet?
1. This is my home.
2. I need to wander.
3. I need to be here.
I’ve known this for more than 30 years. I’ve camped along the Central Coast for decades, usually about six times a year. The air. The wind. The skies. The crisp fog. The rain. The stillness.
I am alone on this camping trip. But I am not. Everything is familiar. Everything is comfortable. I am at ease. I am where I am supposed to be. My landing place. My raft in the stormy seas.
Literally, every single time I Ieave Cambria, I feel like crying. And I do.
Upon leaving, I try to talk myself out of chest-crushing sadness and give myself a pep talk, “You’ll be back soon enough.” I do my best to avoid L.A. Freeway Hell. But it never fails, the traffic, the people, the foul, heat and smoggy weather, always greets me like a Haunted Mansion Ghoul. I just don’t like Southern California any more.
It has been my home for 66 years. And I think, no, I’m pretty sure, I want a divorce.
* * *
post Labor Day,
post most kids back to school,
in a campground I’ve been to dozens and dozens of times before;
there is something so familiar and reassuring and meant-to-be;
it is hard to fathom why it’s hard to write,
hard to think,
hard to commit to The Next Step,
The Next Chapter,
the Next Place.
I’ve known it for as long as I’ve known myself.
Soon. I’d say within the next year, I will find the perfect place. Within my budget. With a view of the sea. Charming. Vintage. Feels like home. Because it will be.
This will be my place. No regrets. A fresh start.
While I long to wander, I also know I need a nest.
I met a woman at the local grocery store today. She was in her 80s. I told her I’ve been dreaming of living here for 30+ years. She said, “You should do it,” and smiled before shifting lanes and chatting with a cashier friend. She could be me in 30 years. A little old lady content with life.
We met up again, outside the grocery store, and I offered to help her onto the Cambria Community bus. “One day, I hope to be your neighbor,” I said. “But not just yet. I am on a traveling adventure.”
“Good for you,” she said, smiling again. “Do it while you can.”
That’s what people tell me. Travel while you can.
Things happen. The Great Next. But for now, I’m cruising in my VW camper van, staying open, learning lessons, trying to listen, and enjoying the feeling of floating on a flaming pink floaty to destinations unknown.