California

Once a stranger, now you occupy so much of my heart with wonder.

The roar of your great ocean beneath jutted, jagged cliffs stole my breath –

With fear,

with amazement,

with the quiet thought that my life would never be the same.


I’ve climbed mountains,

hiked miles through woven trails that thousands carved out before me, and still stood small-

hedged in by walls of granite.


I have planted my feet in the coarseness of warm sand,

my eyes trained on a calm, blue sea-

A painted sky stretched across the expanse, and I lived fully in the moment. 


The sun and wind have whipped a feeling like hot ash on my bare legs, and in later seasons,

I’ve fallen hard on slick, icy paths-

I’ve had to flee for smoke, blizzards and fog. I’ve closed my eyes behind the wheel of a car and prayed I would survive.

I’ve shrieked at the thrill of winter’s first snow, and again at the frigid bite of summer’s first swim-

But, mostly I have been at peace,

a warm breeze wafting the subtle aroma of my backyard roses.


Adventure has carried me from coast to coast by car and flight-

Yet, nothing has captivated me quite like the distant appearance of

snow-capped Shasta, drawing near.


Now that we are apart,

an aching longing feels my heart,

for evergreens that touch the sky,

a coastline stretching and changing and calling to me.

For cool evening walks, white mountain tops, and that feeling –

I can almost remember what it felt like to be home.

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