My favorite friend, Sheena Gilbert, sent me a text from upstate NY: “California is…?”
It’s taken me awhile to know how to answer her because California is not what my east coast and midwest thoughts imagined. At lest, not mostly. And, like I always told my students, it’s easier to focus on (and write about) negations and what something is “not” but it’s harder to find out what something “is.”
That whole “essence” idea is pretty far to reach towards, but we try. We try and describe what something is and, even, to discover and uncover what something is (granted, it usually ends up becoming something else, shifting, and changing).
I’ll start trying to tell Shenna what California is so I can, likewise, tell myself what this place is all about. Last weekend, Jesse and I went hiking and California was, for a second a little East Coast feeling–meaning it was woodsy, filled with rivers, and smelling of pine. And the differences were the redwoods, the size, and feeling a bit less like I was fighting daylight.