California

Never the same. Endless days of sun, nights of blood-orange sunsets. Some mornings new and rosy, some muted. Days of drought, wildfires, parched and shifting earth. Dark days of fog, rain and sliding hillsides. Crowded, curlicue freeways, deep and coyote-filled canyons. Disappearing cottages. Rising prices, mansions.

Dreams as big as the ocean, christened by the waves. Friends as new and unfettered as you can find. Or as veiled and sequestered as you prefer to remain. (Chances your children will throw off the robes.)

Men and women as beautiful as Hollywood moguls can invent. Men and women as plain as the prairies and rusty, dusty towns they left in a hurry. Families of the earth who raise chickens and vegetables in their backyard and sell eggs and turnips at the farmer’s market.

People of many tongues and colors. They go to work every day, driving taxis, painting toenails, hauling trash, sending their sons and daughters to school so they can go to work every day carrying a computer. Hi-tech, bio-tech, big pharma, little geeks.CA Love

Leading edge, cutting edge, falling off the edge, as did Columbus to discover New Worlds. New lives, new identities.

Wherever you go, there you are is no longer true. The earth can shake and rotate swallowing you into oblivion. While you sleep, it coughs you out and there you are in the morning, glowing new as a baby.

Ready to invent vaccines, Google, cures for cancer and disappearing coral reefs. Vote in a leader who is still dreaming, but has slid down moonbeams to earth, managing to offend few.

In one day, travel from sea lavender and sand, fall into meadows and forests, drink deeply of the desert air. Celebrate the return of the condor, the largest bird in North America, flying over this wildest land with a swoop and salute.

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A Long Time Comin’

It’s been a long time comin’, my dear
It’s been a long time comin’, but now it’s here
It’s been a long time comin’, my dear
It’s been a long time comin’, but now it’s here
(Whoaaa)
— Bruce Springsteen


Standing in the windy walkway of the two-story office building, waiting for my appointment to arrive. It’s one of those plain, sad buildings that could be anywhere – and contain any type of business. I see names on doors I understand – Axis Chiropractic, Helping Hand Home Healthcare – and those I don’t – Smart Data Resources, Brown & Associates. (Dumb Data Resources and White & Associates would not be any clearer.)

I’ve come in the back way, so it’s a minute or two before I move to the front and look out. And it’s another half minute before the scene across the street registers in my brain. It’s a bare lot. A huge pit/hole in the middle. Bulldozers chomping away at the outer edges.

Wait! What was there? Oh yes, the Mexican restaurant, the classic one that stood for decades. When my appointment arrived, she reminded me that the restaurant’s parent company had filed for bankruptcy three years ago and that the restaurant across the street had been shuttered for two years.Construction 2

So, although the change seemed abrupt to me, it had already been going on for awhile. Perhaps this is true of most change. Change is the constant, not the exception, even if we can’t see it.

I’ve been thinking about change a lot lately. My life has been full of changes. Nothing has ever stayed the same for long and if it does, I get restless, start pushing at the edges, seeing what I can move. And if I can’t move something, then I move myself. A new job, a new neighborhood, a new activity. I’m getting restless now, ready for some changes. Choices lie ahead.Construction 3

According to my recent fortune cookie, I am in for some exciting changes – There is a prospect of a thrilling time ahead for you. Well, hmmmm …

I like that better than the fortune I got a year ago – Be content with your lot. One cannot be first in everything.

I’mConstruction 1 not as restless as some, those I know who are adventurers, who live/love to travel constantly. But I’m not change-adverse either, clinging to the rug that has been yanked out from under me, hoping it will take me for a magic ride and that I don’t have to get off.

Maybe most of us are a mixture. We love some changes and dread others. And that can change too.

There’s been times that I thought
I couldn’t last for long
But now I think I’m able to carry on
It’s been a long, long time coming
But I know a change is gonna come
Oh, yes it will
— Sam Cooke

Bye, Bye Boot Camp

Another new year. Time for reflection and possible resolutions. Time to assess where we’ve been, where we are, where we hope to be.Eye

It’s tempting to measure, to assign a number on a scale, to compare and contrast.

On a scale of one to ten, say, how was this year? Overall, better than average, perhaps a seven. In some specific areas, the scale hovers at six, in others it reaches an eight with flashes of nine. Compared to former, low-dipping years, years when I lost a job or a when man I cared for developed cancer, or when my mother died, it’s been a good year.

This coming year I aim higher. Slight improvements will be just fine. Maybe accepting that the scale slides is good enough. Life is constant adjustment. It is rarely the same in all areas. We can do well in one segment: lose weight or win a contest, but not so well in another: develop an allergy to a food or a person.

I think that is why I love yoga so much. It reminds me of that. It keeps me grounded and balanced and yet still reaching farther and higher. And it doesn’t force me on days when I feel tired or insecure. I can rest and move gently, honoring myself.

One step at a timeTo tell you the truth, I am tired of measurements, especially those imposed from the outside. As I watch people strap little instruments to themselves to measure footsteps and calories, I realize I don’t want to do that anymore. I’m not being critical. These measures work and have worked for me in the past.

I’m just being realistic about where I am. No more boot camp of the soul! I like gradual changes that grow from within, one step at a time, one day at a time. And even the realization that I am fine where I am and don’t need to change.

Happy Old and New Year!