Posted By bbinns on December 20, 2008
I am seeking to define my feelings as we start to pack for this winter’s drive to California, but it’s not as easy as usual. There has been a subtle shift in my appreciation of the east coast life in the eight months since we pulled up at our own door once again, full of memories of the imagined California of my youth. (I say imagined, because that California, mostly, no longer exists.) Yet after four partial years here in the Hudson Valley, we have begun to forge deep bonds of friendship and involvement with the land and the people. Setting aside the annual “Meet the Beetles” interlude (swarms of box-elder beetles invade every nook and cranny of the house, appearing on foodstuffs and toiletry items with skin-cringing abandon), and the laissez-faire hair I must affect in summer, when the humidity makes use of a hair dryer a cruel joke, I have settled in with the way of this place. C and I avoided our annual fall discourse (ok, yes, argument may be a better term) on the wisdom of our precipitous fire-sale in California and move east in 2005. Just last week I said “You know, I’m kind of sad to be leaving.” He has repeated the statement to everyone he knows and many he doesn’t. I am glad to make him happy, and glad that my own happiness is the cause.
And yet California still beckons. The prospect of five dark months of existing either indoors or cold holds no allure for me. I had prayed for some snow before we left, and snow, I got. More snow than I or any army might need. Cooking in the fireplace is a wonderful antidote for the cold, but after a few weeks, I’m starting to feel the skin on my face cook, from its proximity to the raging heat as I shove around embers, chickens, pigs, packets of fennel, and ember-cooked flatbreads. And the Texan dog, she is berry berry cold. It is quite difficult to persuade her that there might be any possible justification for leaving the house.