The last month in California flew by. Winter arrived in late November and the nights dropped into the 40s. The use of space heaters on the central California coast -- where it often rises into the 50s and 60s on winter days, but drops at night -- reminds me of fans in the summer heat of New England. You keep one nearby during the day and it's turned on all night. There were beautiful sunsets in the last few weeks of December, clear, sunny days along the coast, many wonderful rainy days, and like most anywhere else in this hemisphere, many dark afternoons and evenings and mornings.
I'm back in New Hampshire now after arriving last night on a jumbo overbooked flight from San Francisco. I knew I was headed home when a man a few rows behind me proclaimed at one point that his coffee was "wicked hot!" Boston was beautiful and scenic to fly into, even in the darkness. And being with family in the city last night brought back so many memories of how much I love that city, it's history and character and neighborhoods and the memories that return when there. It's wonderful to be among the familiar now, with family and friends and the feeling of being somewhere I know so well. This is my home but California is where my life is right now. As the year comes to a close, I'm extraordinarily grateful for the opportunity of a job there, and so happy that I took a chance. The zero and subzero temperatures here are shocking, but I loved visiting so many old friends today and hearing the familiarity in my voice as we spoke of landmarks and places, people and ideas. I spoke faster and turned more than a few -ing's into -in's (ex. "Are you goin' too?!")
This morning as I drove to where I last lived and worked, I noticed the absence of cars on the road, the empty highways and shorter pine trees, the thick, dense forests of empty brown trees and branches. I had forgotten about icy driveways and walkways when I stepped out of the car in heeled boots, and snowbanks took me by surprise as I turned into traffic. In deserted spots, the snow masses are covered in ice and I was reminded of how until the age of ten or so, I was light enough to walk along them, one or two feet off the ground. Today was a reminder that familiarity and love is still here, and pieces of it, particularly in nature, will always be here. I'm looking forward to the time ahead at home, the rest and relaxation and time spent with others.