I haven’t had time to pause much but when getting together with old friends for meals there seems to be a theme to their inquiries; “Why are you on this trip?” “Where’s Dave” “Why are you doing this alone”.
It started me thinking.
Some of those are easy to answer: Dave’s home with the animals because he’s been gone with the Boarder Riders for weeks this summer.
The others are more elusive but once I really stared examining this trip I came to realize that there seems to be a pattern of some sort. I’m visiting literally all of the places in California that I’ve ever lived, during my favorite months here, September and October.
I’m seeing the vast majority of the friends who were and are most important to me over the last 35 years or so.
I’m doing this alone because I felt like it, because I didn’t want to subject Dave to the endless reminiscing that will go on whenever we gather with the oldest of friends and family. But I think there’s more.
It feels very much like I’m closing a chapter and coming full circle, full circle to what and where I have no clue yet, I’m hoping that by the end of this journey it will become clearer.
Moving to Portland has been the best thing we’ve ever done for ourselves. I thought moving back to California would be that pinnacle, and maybe it was, for me, at that time. But this move was something we did together, consciously and with a purpose; that being to prepare our place in the world for the next phase in our lives; where we wanted to be when we “grew up”. Suddenly, it feels very much like that next phase is upon us. it seems to be on many of us “of a certain age” these days. The conversations I have been having with friends are of a different quality and timber, more nuanced, more thoughtful.
Barbara said something to me about age 40 when I thought it was appropriate to have a crisis of some nature. She pointed out that all of our youth we had been looking forward at our futures with the rest of lives stretching out in front of us. Now, we had a few decades of experiences behind us and were obliged to look at our futures through the prism of those already spent years. We were not having crises as much as we were re-focusing our lenses. I loved that idea then and it seems, once more, to be the analogy I will run with.
Ironically, I have been “focusing” on focusing these days with a distinct new interest in photography so this analogy feels even more fitting and I will run with that and see where it leads me. Maybe by documenting these places and times and friends and feelings, I will complete some nebulous un- touchable “wholeness” that I have been seeking all these years and be able to set it down and move onward.
In the end, like Tony Bennett, I truly have left my heart in San Francisco……..but I’ve left my home, and the person who holds my heart, in Portland.