I’m basking in lots of natural beauty and friend time in California. My return to the road launched with a drive from the Sacramento Airport to my friend Barbie’s house in Alameda. “Little Sugar” (my car) was dusty and thirsty but ready to get back to work.
Dreams can come true, it can happen to you, when your friend has a sailboat.
Big thanks to my high school buddy Paul for my first-ever sail on the San Francisco Bay. We had hot sunshine, cool winds, seals and miniature dolphins playing beside us, and I made three, very cool, new friends – Nicole, Emily, and Garrett. They’re all hip, smart, and doing interesting work in the world, like political financing to push climate change legislation. No big deal.
My highlight was swimming in the Bay. It was so salty that I had thick, crystal crusties on my eyelids soon afterwards. I could have stayed in the water for hours, floating and looking at Alcatraz, downtown SF, the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay Bridge, Sausalito – all of it. Just magical.
That night, I went to the land of the Weenies (as we Cardinal call them) for a beautiful sunset hike at Tilden Park with my ex, Sam.
If you have never been, please go. It’s a paradise that feels very far away from the freeways and big box stores nearby it. As night fell, we stood for a while and watched an owl hoot to its friend in a nearby tree, while crickets chirped all around us.
We also walked in on a silent meditation retreat taking place at a campground. There were candles and fresh flowers in the bathroom. They’d hung individual dish towels on clothes drying racks that I believe were “pee towels,” used to dry yourself and not use TP. This was a group doing some profound praying for all of us.
The next morning, I made my way down the coast and stopped to see the John Steinbeck museum in Salinas. The docent made it clear to me that I would be stuck in bad traffic if I didn’t hit the road toward my final destination. But, the museum felt so exciting and inviting. I want to go back again.
There are miracles in life. And, one of them is the way I felt at Full Sail Farm in Paso Robles. Nestled alongside a dry riverbed and coastal mountains, this little slice of heaven was created by my new friends, Laurie and Carl, twenty-seven years ago.
Laurie boards horses and Carl is a carpenter. They live in a trailer and have, I believe, one of the richest lives I’ve seen. They gaze at big, beautiful starlit skies at night, they get plenty of fresh air and exercise on the farm, and there are friends and friends of friends coming through regularly to stay at the “bunkhouse,” where I stayed. The energy of the place feels so happy and up. I loved it.
The next morning, I cried all the way to Morrow Bay. Well, not all the way, but some of it.
When I woke up, I wrote some friends in L.A. with last-minute requests to hang out over the weekend, if they were around. Within a half hour, I had plans for Thursday (dinner), Friday (a Groundlings improv show), and Saturday afternoon (pool party!). Then, my aunt let me know I have a place to stay in Borrego Springs on my way to the Flagstaff where my friend Carolynn confirmed she’ll be ready to host me.
I felt so overwhelmed by the speedy synchronicities and everyone’s generosity that I cried. It was an appreciation spasm.
My roll of fun continued in Santa Barbara. God bless Fr. Larry Gosselin at the Santa Barbara Mission. I called him about two minutes before I was due to arrive at the mission and he welcomed me with a big hug.
Fr. Larry is my dad’s cousin’s wife’s brother. He describes himself as “a humble boy from Sumner, Washington” but is, in fact, head of one of the most high profile missions in California.
And, on the day I visited him, he was taking calls from radio and TV stations about the controversy around Fr. Junipero Serra’s sanctification the following day, which the Santa Barbara Mission was instrumental in making happen.
Considering all the controversy around Catholic’s treatment of Native Americans, it’s interesting to know that Fr. Larry once served on an Apache reservation in New Mexico and has a lot of artwork by Native Americans in his office, including some renderings of Christ as an Apache and other indigenous people, that he commissioned.
He gave me two signed books of his poetry, a big hug, and we took a picture together because he wanted to put it on Facebook.
I ended my marathon day of fun in Pacific Palisades with my friends Mark and Domenica. Domenica was scrambling to finish a wedding dress she’s making for a friend. She has her own line of clothing called Averti and is a “green fashion” activist.
Mark had just finish a day of shooting still photography on a TV commercial shoot and leaves for Milan on Friday to shoot backstage at Fashion Week in Milan and Paris.
They’re so L.A. and I love them.
Next Up, More L.A.
Today was a work day but tomorrow I will be helping my friend who writes comedy in L.A. pick up his kids from school. He warned me to get to his house early because the traffic “is well…let’s see…a twisted knot of dicks.” Noted.