Back from Seattle

I’m back from my short trip to Seattle for my grandfather’s 80th birthday. I spent Saturday seeing my grandparents, my daughter, my uncles and their families. I haven’t seen some of them in quite a few years, even though it doesn’t ever seem that long. It is clearer with my cousins, who are all about 18 to 25 years younger than me, since they change so much from the times I’ve seen them last. I even saw my brother and his wife for the first time since my wedding.

I’d say that I am “back home” now after arriving on the plane tonight except it is clear from visiting Seattle that it is still really my home.

It is Fall there now and it was raining on and off all weekend with the temperature around 50 degrees. This morning, I went to breakfast at Flowers, a vegetarian place in the University District where I’ve gone on and off for over ten years now.

Standing on a corner, under an awning, looking down the street while I was waiting for the place to open, I saw so many places that have layers and layers of memories for me. I felt a certain sense of peace while looking at all of these places and feeling the memories on that street, going back over 20 years. Flowers is one of these places since I started going there right after my first marriage ended but I can also look down the street and see the spot where I worked when I was 16. I can see where the places where I used to hang out as a teenager in high school or during college were (and often still are). It made me very wistful and, frankly, sad, when I knew that I was going to drive to the airport to leave in a few hours.

This sense of history is probably how R feels wandering around Berkeley at times. This is only the second time that I’ve been back since we moved away in June, 2006. This time of year is especially likely to make it seem like home. The sky is gray and it is damp. It’s chilly but there aren’t really any leaves on the ground because most trees around Seattle are evergreens. You look around and it is a bit dim and damp but everything is either gray or green. I know Californians probably shudder in horror at this but I prefer the rain and the gray skies to the Sun and the six months without rain which is normal here in Oakland.

I see the people that I know or knew. I go places and still run into people that I know (which happened this weekend). The city is clean (all that rain!) and I know my way around without even thinking.

I expect that I will want to move back in a few years. There are things that I like about the Bay Area, especially with a lot of my tech and Buddhist interests, but it isn’t my home. My home is cool, wet, and green.