Saturday, February 7, 2015

Witness to the Waves

I am currently posted up in a coffee shop with a beach front view, and it's drizzling outside.  It's cozy in here, and the coffee smells rich and mixes with the salted fish smell of the kelp 100 yards away. This coffee shop doesn't have wifi and I think it's probably one of the few left that hasn't opted in. This makes it the perfect place to come and write because it takes the need for self disciple out of the equation.  No wifi means few distractions, and with the sea in front of me and a large cup of coffee to my right, nothing could be better in this moment.

I think the choice to not offer wifi is an interesting one, and I think it's even more interesting that I kind of think it as novel.  When I asked (already semi-knowing the answer but still feeling the need to ask) if they have wifi, the barista (is it baristo if it's man? I can't GTS!*) kind of laughed and said "we havent for a few years. We'd be packed if we did, can you imagine this place?"  What an amusing thought. A coffee shop refuses the pull of wifi to keep people out. I guess for a small shop 10 steps from the beach in picture perfect, tourist-centric Avila, it's a choice that's easy because it involves no compromise.  The crowds come no matter what.  It's rainy and I couldn't even find a table- who goes to a beach town in the rain.  Oh, me I guess. And anyone who knows they won't melt, apparently. So, the cafe with no wifi by the beach in the rain is still packed.  Other humans realize that it's a day to be out. 

Part of the reason I came to Avila was a need to get out of the house.  Working at home makes it very easy to spend all my waking time at home, and one thing I am not is a home body.  But now I guess I kind of am situationally, and apparently that makes me also a rambler... Despite the fact that I don't have wifi to distract me, the people here are equally as distracting.  A friendly, bearded gentleman who smells like butterscotch and wears a twine and metal wedding ring just sat next to me and commented on how beautiful the scene is. And it really is.  I knew I would miss the mountains, the rolling green and brown hills between Angels Camp and Murphys, the local coffee shops (okay, the local Starbucks, which was the only place that didn't give you dirt looks for taking up a table for an hour), the treacherous but beautifully chaotic drive from Main St. to OARS, which involved a series of turns that always astounded me a logging truck was able to make.  The tightness to openness of the area.  Everyone knew everyone but you could drive for five minutes and be so far away. 

But here I am staring out at the ocean amidst a storm, and I don't really miss those things. I find myself imagining what's ten feet below the surface out there, where it must be untouched by the chaos of the rain and wind and waves. Here we are on the surface exposed to the blowing cold- the changes that come with the days and the seasons passing. And maybe that's the thing about moving away with someone I love.  On the surface changes can be hard, things need adjustment and "getting used to," people's routines and moods and needs have to be taken with grace and understanding and patience.  Living with someone again isn't easy, but it's the surface kind of chaos that doesn't reach too deep. Waves crash and then dissipate on the sand, retreat and then grow again with new water.  But the ocean is wide, and in its immensity it always has a way of leveling out. 

*GTS means Google that shit, mom :)

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I grew up in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, ventured south along the California coast for a while, sailed through San Francisco Bay, and have landed back on the Central Coast.  This time I'm a little closer to our rivers and our summits, and a little farther from where I started.