Sunday, May 01, 2005

Hot tubs and orange blossoms

Hot Tubs and Orange Blossoms

Yesterday we drove from the east side of the bay to Exeter, halfway between Fresno and Bakersfield. As soon as we arrived at the church, our homestays combined forces and treated half of us to dinner at Baker's Square. The drive over was disorienting. I've noticed it before, but the eastern half of California looks a lot like Oklahoma, minus the palm trees and orange groves. But down here there's cotton and tomatoes, oranges, walnuts, strawberries, and almonds. Little squat brick houses, and mom and pop stores. The biggest excitement in three towns is to go ride the escalator at Gottschalks.

Last night Vanessa and I spent an hour and a half in the hot tub, smelling 30 acres of orange blossoms wafting on the breeze. What a wonderful smell.

And yesterday I got nostalgic for home. For dark cozy winters where the sun sets before 4 and there's nothing to do but cook soup and read. And ski. For late spring where the days lengthen, and snow crocus, tulips and daffodils pop up just in time for Easter pictures. The rare rainy days where you can smell the mountains, 45 miles away for the first half hour after sunrise. And the summer days, where the sun rises at 4 and sets after 10. Blazing hot days and chilly nights once the sun sets. Fresh corn on the cob, as much as you can eat from the farmers market. And crisp fall days. Where it's cold enough at night to change the colors of the leaves. And I'm going home!