California

Displaced-Sense of Place

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I chose the room that faced East. I wanted to claim the day before anyone else. I wanted a moment with the sun in the quiet morning made doubly quiet by a two-inch fall of snow. Ambiance snow–enough to be beautiful but not enough to actually inconvenience.

I chose the room that faced East because I had the time, not dictated by the alarm clock, to be in the morning. Nowhere to be. Nowhere to rush. No agenda.

I am not home. And I am finally seeing again.

There’s a line of clouds over the hills to the East, backlit by the still pale light of the rising sun. They are a second range of light–a doppelgänger to the range that looms behind me. Both are shifting–rising and falling with the breath of the earth–yet they are out of temporal sync, one in geological time, the other etherial.

A solid hill, dusted with last night’s snow fall, sports a brilliant halo as the sun climbs its knobby spine to crest and flood my room with instant warmth. A small stand of skeletal aspen glow gold next to their bleached neighbors; they alone are touched by the light. The valley fills with soft blue shadows that then melt away as quickly as they form as the sun moves higher in the sky, turning angles to curves, corners to nooks.

Every so often, the wind grabs a handful of snow from the roof and gleefully tosses it out over the parking lot.

Why is it that I so often have to leave the home of my heart to finally pull my head out of the muck of no-time busyness and see?

I feel as if my internal eye grows thick, milky cataracts that are only removed by the thin sharp knife of altitude in the Sierra Nevadas.

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