I’ve always enjoyed the places I’ve lived, at least until the worms began crawling out of the woodwork and infiltrating my brain with messages of malaise, causing me to long for U-Haul boxes and the feel of newspaper-wrapped dishes in my hands (I am very good at packing, ask anyone). But no place I’ve lived — and there have been many — has given me the utter joy I feel these days when I step out my front door and face west and the water and the sky and the islands beyond.
Oh no, I take that back. Colorado did that, too. The nightly sight of the Front Range silhouetted against the technicolor sunset sky never grew old in the year I was there, and I wept to leave it.
But this town is even better. I feel a part of the color here, not just a spectator. There’s a difference.
1. Yesterday we drove over the hill into the other part of town. A couple, neither young nor old, stood in the street near their car, talking. He was wearing pajamas. With penguins on them.
2. Today I saw a cat I didn’t know in my yard and then across the street in the shade of the wide maple tree. I opened my front door and called, “Here, kitty kitty kitty!” A woman stepped out of her car parked across the street and asked me if the cat was mine. Later I went over to talk to her; she’s homeless, waiting until she can move in with her son and his girlfriend. A handknit pink hat covered her frosted, over-processed, bleached blonde hair. She said that in parks, where she’s been spending her time, the animals have become her friends. Her name is Jeannie.
3. Matthew and I rode together on my motorcycle the other day. We drove past a strip-mall church. In the parking lot in front of the long low building there were about 8 policemen with bulletproof vests and what I guessed were automatic rifles. One gave a hand signal and they moved as a group toward the church, guns pointed in front of them.
4. The blackberries — which are everywhere, along every trail and path, coming up unbidden in every yard — ripen at different times. If you can brave the thorns and you keep going back every couple of days, there’s an endless supply for a few weeks.
5. The burritos here are the size of newborn babies, but taste much better.
6. You can swim in 60-degree water, sure.