Of all my fondest memories of you,
Mendocino is the one.
In all the vastness of the West Coast,
its sprawling forests of Redwoods,
its endless miles of nothingness.
The terracotta earth.
The distant mountains in all their glory.
The lavender, so still in the windless air.
The rattlesnakes and the quails.
The jack rabbits, appearing so fleetingly.
The heat, devouring everything in it’s path.
(Too hot for an English girl).
Eagles soared over the valley you call home now.
I could see the Milky Way at night from your garden.
You squashed a black widow as if it were
a common garden spider.
in their rows and rows
of (really tiny) grapes.
I was surprised to find
how different they looked
to the ones we buy in England.
I was at home here.
Totem poles surrounded by wildflowers.
How long had they been there?
Surely this was a haven,
for all travellers,
for all free people,
hippies and wanderers.
A loggary, providing forgotten driftwood
of the most perfect form.
Until the beach was covered
in those makeshift huts
the people had crafted,
in the sand.
I saved a piece to bring home with me.
We found a sea lion,
Do you remember?
Washed upon the shore.
You took my picture next to it.
A monster from the sea,
A humbling reminder of our mortality.
It’s majestic form, lifeless by the cliffs.
And the people.
With their braided hair,
their long skirts,
their cheesecloth shirts,
They looked so perfect to me.
Sand-swept and wind-aged.
A thousand storms etched onto their brows.
A thousand stories,
a thousand wisdoms
If I could only have stayed a little longer.
How much you can learn from people
who are other than you.
The enormity overwhelms me.
The dearest memory of all.
I left my heart there.
And one day I will return
to find it.