Wednesday, January 20, 2010

"Trips That Begin Badly Are Bound To End Well"

My cousin's dear mother always said that trips "that begin badly are bound to end well." I've taken those words to heart as I stare out the floor-to-ceiling window in our California retreat and watch Mother Nature wreak havoc on the California coast. It has been raining off and on for three days now and, if we are to believe the weather forecasters, we have another two days to go. All plans for long hikes have been delayed. Thoughts of sitting on the sunny deck overlooking the San Francisco Bay seem like a Midwestern gal's dream. A ferry trip from Oakland's Jack London Square to San Francisco have been held in abeyance. A field trip of sorts to look at homes for sale may have to wait until the start of the spring market.

But all is not lost. I've finished one book and have begun another. In between the rain - and it does stop for hours at a time, usually in early afternoon - we've scoured the stores up and down College Avenue and the more chic establishments on Berkeley's 4th Street. We've taken advantage of our free guest status and worked out at the Oakland YMCA two times now. I even took a yoga class there yesterday before jumping on an elliptical machine for 20 minutes in my attempt to do something aerobically every day. We've eaten at some good restaurants and visited the Berkeley Museum of Art. And we have frequented the local Whole Foods, Safeway, and specialty food stores and delis that flourish here.

We watch the clouds, fog, and rain roll in and out as if they are in a huge hurry, late for something terribly important. Mother Nature is on display with her palette of colors, moods, and designs. Who needs museums or art galleries? The houses on the surrounding hills disappear and then magically reappear. One minute the Golden Gate Bridge is there; the next, it has been erased as quickly as memories of childbirth. I came here for warmth and sun but am beginning to appreciate the underside of this El Nino that is bringing much-needed rain to these parts. The rain and the snow in the upper altitudes that will eventually melt will help replenish the drought-stricken land and the all-too-shallow reservoirs. I don't know if this marks the end of California's three-year drought - probably not - but it will make a significant dent.

I'm aware of the stunning defeat of the Democratic candidate for Senate in the liberal state of Massachusetts. But I've chosen to implement a news blackout for now. I'm unwilling to let politics rob me of what I know will be a trip that ends well.

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