home sweet sweet sweet home. berkeley, california. not another place like it on earth. i feel out of my mind with LOVE for this city. the hills. the ocean. the air. the flowers. the people. the crazy, lovely, beautiful people. the amount of bicycles on the road instead of cars. the lively, abundant farmers market. moveon.org bake sales set up all over town to raise money for barack obama. the hopefulness and openness of mind and heart. and the sky. it's so blue today. the purest baby blue.
i rode my bike down to the marina this afternoon where i found a comfy spot on a big, flat rock near the water, sat myself down, and gazed out across the bay. the golden gate gracefully glistening in the distance. squawking seagulls and kites soaring overhead. colorful sailboats catching the breeze, weaving about on the sparkling waves. truly dazzling.
it feels different each time i come back here from korea. i feel like a different person after these 10 months of living on the other side of the pacific. and therefore the bay area feels different too. it no longer feels like the place where i came six years ago, wide-eyed from the midwest, to go to grad school and turn myself inside out...at times the learning curve felt exhilarating and at other times like mount everest.....i climbed it, sometimes bounding up joyfully, other times shaking my fists in a heat of rage, and there were times i found myself crying out for mercy on my hands and bloodied knees...
the years before i left berkeley for korea were characterized by torrents of restlessness and confusion. i wanted so much to feel a sense of rootedness, of home, but the harder i tried; the more lost i felt. in hindsight, it seems this was largely due to being in my twenties and also an instinctive knowing that the journey did not stop here. it wasn't time to hunker down. other worlds had to be seen and experienced...both within and without.
now i'm reaching the end of my 30th year and an extraordinary year abroad. i can't say i'm the hunkering type, but the restlessness of my twenties has calmed significantly, so much so that at times the push and pull of longing and uncertainty that strongly marked those years feels dreamlike, "a strange feather that finally fell out." with my heart now spread across the world, feeling a deep affinity for several, very different places and the people who live there, i would think that could make it even harder to know where home is. but today, as i looked out on the bay and up at the broad blue reaches of this california summer solstice sky, i felt the most profound feeling of really being home....and simultaneously knowing that at this time of my life, home doesn't necessarily mean the place to hang my hat. rather, it's somewhere to keep coming back to. to strengthen that feeling of place, of belonging. to breathe deeply and take refuge in the freedom and expansiveness of utterly and completely being reflected back as who i truly am.