Thursday, June 30, 2011


The Anza-Borrego Desert
 {Image via}
I am missing dry summer heat something awful. New York stays warm late at night, which is something the west coast only provided me on truly scorching days, or in the desert. But that desert heat is what I miss - which is to say that I think I'm missing open skies. I'm missing blue for miles, I'm missing sun beating down from every direction, not being blocked by buildings, not glinting off of cars. I'm missing open space, I'm missing the ocean, with sandy beach stretching far and away ahead of me. I'm missing-until-my-heart-could-burst-with-aching desert sands, and cacti, big horn sheep and sun burnt rocks, and breezes so dry they crack your lips and make you squint your eyes to protect them from sand. I miss the Anza-Borrego desert most of all, the desert I grew up in, which became as much a part of my childhood and my definition of self as my family or my friends or the ocean I look at as a part of me. I feel like I am drowning for not having had a desert or an ocean in nearly a year, suffocating in missing these calming, take-me-away-from-reality pieces of nature, both so completely opposite of each other.

Maybe I'm mostly a little disappointed to realize that New York probably is not the forever city for me. I still hope to put in my full three years here, see how the city continues to grow and change, see if it is able to build up on me up thicker of a skin than that with which I arrived here. And I guess there is a lot of importance to realize who I am, deep down. That I may love the glitz and the glamour of a city as alive and constantly moving as New York, that I will never find a place as culturally in-tune with my likings of theater, museums, operas, and symphonies. But that these do not necessarily lend themselves to a city-home-forever. Would it be different if I had more of a network here? More friends, my family? Perhaps. But I also think that California and New York truly are different. That even if you have a certain set of likings, even if you possess a certain mentality, a certain liberalism, a certain desire to be more active than stagnant, there is still something innate within each of us depending on where we were raised.

My favorite past time will, probably forever, be laying out in the sun. Fully-clothed, or less than, I find more and more that I miss this. Yes I need to find a park, as I have no patio space, no balcony space, no roof space on which to take in the sun's rays. It is the act of being in silence that I miss. It is a certain desert-environment, sandy and muted in color, that I miss. These things will not be found in New York. New York is an east coast city. It is green, it is damp, it is humid, it is lush. It is beautiful and thriving and pulsing and alive, but it is not a desert. There are no moments of quiet here in Manhattan. There are no moments where you can close your eyes, feel the sun beat down on your face, and hear nothing but birds chirping or wind blowing.

Yes, I have in every sense of the word just arrived. I have not even hit my one-year mark. But the urge to walk to the ocean has never been stronger, the urge to take a road trip to the desert has never pulled at my heartstrings more. The lack of funds and of time off has never weighed more heavily upon me, setting in a certain feeling of entrapment for my inability to leave. Everyone stated that I would miss a car, while I relished the thought of truly being able to be independent of such a tether, of being able to take subways, buses, ferries anywhere I would need to go. But they were right. That Manhattan is an island, that Manhattan is a city that never sleeps, that it puts Vegas to shame in its constant movement. Manhattan gives no time for silence, no time for desert heat or soaking in the sun and turning off your brain. Why would you turn off your brain in a city like this, which promotes culture, promotes learning, promotes always growing? That is a California thing, a hippie mentality, to take time to be with nature, to take time to try to commune with something to which you will return when you die anyway. But I am finding that such hippie philosophizing is a part of who I am. It is how I was raised, perhaps because of where I was raised, perhaps because of my parents, perhaps because of my friends, perhaps because of an innate personality trait that drew me to the sun, and the sand, and the sea. Regardless of the whys, this is something that I miss. And, I suppose, something that I must look to find here.

Because, for as intense as this craving has hit me of late, to find a piece of summer that is quiet and dry in its breezes and warmth, the facts of this human life - working to earn the money that serves as our nation's barter system - are better here than they ever were in California. The job that eventually made me flee makes me fearful to return to the sleepy little city whose ever-present beaches sing their siren song now in my nostalgia and craving. Yet nowhere but there are the beaches and the desert I miss so near. Yet there are more places in the world, endless places. Places with deserts and with seas and with culture and with excitement. And always, in any new place I should one day choose to live, I will hit periods of nostalgia and missing and being completely unable to do precisely what it is I want to do at that time. Because we can each only be in one place at a time, and responsibilities reign supreme at certain times and prevent trips and gallivanting and not caring. And the frustration of the doldrums of life, and of not-knowing what would make me happiest are palpable and seemingly endless and impossible to ever really answer because as we grow we change and our desires, definitions, and feelings of home change. And so ends a post with truly no point, except to expel a smattering of the endless stream-of-consciousness thoughts that forever clutter up my mind.

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