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California October 5, 2011

Posted by indigobunting in Uncategorized.

Eleven days ago, I returned to Parts West after two weeks in California with Tim, where we were celebrating our twenty-fifth anniversary. Two weeks away is almost unheard of in our lives. The last time it happened was our twentieth anniversary in Oregon. In fact, until June, that Oregon trip was the last time I’d been on a plane.

Since returning, I’ve wanted to write about the trip, but my writer’s block remains in full force.

I want especially to write about it because everything about the places I visited was so different from where I live, and I was constantly thinking about Bridgett and Mali’s discussion (the rest of us chiming in) about how, on the one hand, moving around within a huge country like the United States, one can sometimes be within its borders and yet feel as if one is visiting a foreign country, but how, on the other hand, a (basically) common language and political system may make that interpretation of foreign illegitimate. The geography may be outside your experience. The accents, attitudes, and culture may be as well. But foreign isn’t foreign until you’ve left your country, no matter its size.

The northern California landscapes were so different from Vermont. The landscapes I traveled through were so different from each other. There were barren hills. There were endless farms and ranches and orchards. There were huge wind turbines, the trees below them looking like matchsticks. There were crazy, winding roads through mountain passes where no roads should be. There were fields of wild rice.

There was the shock of Yosemite.

Some landscapes felt confrontational, arresting, intimidating.

All of it was beautiful.

It felt . . . foreign.

But I could speak American English and be generally understood—that is, when I could speak at all.


1. Eulalia Benejam Cobb - October 5, 2011

Well, if this is what your writer’s block is like, I can’t wait to read you in full flow!

2. Mali - October 6, 2011

I loved your last phrase (the preceding ones as well, but particularly your last sentence). It said so much, in so few words. Please keep writing even if you think you have writer’s block.

3. helen - October 6, 2011

Oh, I should have been there too! Lovely… I’m happy that you got to spend your 25th anniversary in such a stunning setting.

4. Bridgett - October 10, 2011

I have it too. It is dragging on and on. But yes, the shock of Yosemite captures it perfectly. California is amazing to see.

5. Dona - October 15, 2011

I love Yosemite. I thought I commented on this, but I was mistaken.

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