I was walking Barkley tonight, enjoying the weather. It was in the high 40s, no wind. The moon was large and the night sky speckled with clouds. I was wearing shorts and my heavy ski jacket. The air smelled of pine trees and made me think of cabins in the woods. A song I've loved for a long time, a song that used to give me the chills every time I heard it, a song that will never grow old, came on my iPod, "Breath of Heaven (Mary's Song)" by Amy Grant. It was off the last Christmas album she did when she was still a Christian artist before we jumped over to sap-pop and before she realized she stunk at that any anyone who liked her Christian music was boycotting her and she came back to Christian music. The song is basically from Mary's perspective as she's travelling to Bethlehem on a cold night, asking God how He could possibly think she was up to the task of being the mother of Jesus. I didn't listen to the words as closely tonight because the song made me remember hearing it years ago when I would talk walks late at night in school. And how the weather then made me feel closer to the song, imagining what the weather might be like. I didn't walk much in L.A., and certainly not alone. When I could get out for a walk, it was with Lori, so we would talk. But I'd never hear that song while out on my own where I could think about it. And tonight I did and it got me excited for Christmas. When Christmas comes this year, it will be cold. It could rain, it could snow. We will be inside watching the weather outside, but we will be inside, toasty and warm. We may have a fire in the fireplace, we may be holding mugs of coffee or hot chocolate. Friends and family will surround us and the warm light from the room will spill out onto the dark front lawn.
The affair is over. To anyone I ever told "I'm a native Southern Californian accidentally born in Seattle," I apologize. It was a lie. It's like that period of time when I thought Lowes was better than Home Depot. I fell in love with a place I could not afford to enjoy. Only now that I don't live there will I be able to enjoy it again. Trips to Disneyland will be more magical, traffic will the minor inconvenience while getting between destinations, not the norm of life. The heat, the smog, the pouring rain, it'll all be something I won't be able to see again through the palm trees. We'll say "I miss the area." and then we'll fly home and say "Nah, I don't miss it." Maybe someday, San Diego. But I can't imagine ever calling Los Angeles home again. It has a beauty, a hope, a promise, but it's better seen on the silver screen than lived by the general masses who inhabit it.
This is home.