She Waits

California waits for us to come back home like a dog when you leave for work in the morning. But we never come back. So she sits and waits, starves, goes thirsty. Maybe someday? Maybe. Maybe the dog dies waiting.

My skin and nose taste and smell the salty air; the familiar touch of a light sea breeze against my skin. It’s her again.

On the coast in Santa Barbara on a red brick patio with black iron railings. With Spanish tile side tables hosting a cheap glass of red wine. Ceramic lizards and vines crawl up the side of a white stucco and green-shuttered wall that, at some point, can see the ocean. It’s here where my mind begins to stray, when she senses my vulnerability and lures me into thinking what’s possible. What is life without risk. See? I’m rationalizing again.

To my left are the french doors leading into our hotel room cottage where my wife curls her hair and tries on high-heels. Every fifteen minutes she walks outside where I sit to ask how she looks. “Beautiful” I say. She smiles and walks back in.

To my right is a perfectly manicured stream of water with bubbling pipes and lights that turn on at night. A brick wall contains the stream, atop of which sit several dozen giant clay pots with plants I can’t pronounce. And behind them, a variety of palm trees barring grape-like fruits. Then there’s the sun. Oh, that sun- hanging in an always-cloudless sky, adding depth and light to the canopy of plants where it moves against waxy green leaves ever so slightly to the rhythm of the pacific breeze that marches inland towards the mountains. It feels like a bit of a dream honestly. To realize, every couple of years when we visit California, that we took every bit of it for granted. It’s true. And now she does her damnedest to turn us jealous. I would be lying if I said her attempts were ineffective.

 

A Coffee Shop in Sonoma, CA

One thing I love to try and do when visiting a new place, especially a place like the beautiful Sonoma Valley wine country, is to sit down and people watch. Maybe even eavesdrop a little. The best places to do this? A bar or coffee shop.

This morning, before the wedding of our good friends Kelly and Trevor, I’m at the Barking Dog Roasters just north of downtown called Boyes Hot Springs- sitting on a leather couch with a newspaper and coffee.

It’s neat to witness what’s obviously a small town feeling here in the shop.

I see a couple casually dressed business people in a corner, a bit more hardened locals with tattoos but friendly smiles, and some that clearly spend most days under the sun as farmhands or even owners of vineyards. You can tell by their dark weathered skin and straw hats.

More commonly perhaps are the tourists like myself- polo shirt with wives in a sun dress, ready to discover the beauty of this rich land.

With that I will put down the iPhone and meet some friends from Orange County while Melissa gets ready for the wedding. We are going wine tasting!

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