It has become the mantra: One foot firmly in the California mountains,the other firmly in Hawaii. Not yet ready to give up either one.
Hawaii is home. My roots are there. My identity -- or a large part of it. That identity needs the support of a set of cultural values unique to our little islands in the middle of the Pacific. We are , with good reason, proud of our history and traditions.
Yet I am forcefully reminded each time I return to California that I have roots here, too. It is not the cities or the coast that call me. It is the farmland, the ranching country and the forest of the Central Valley and the Sierras in central California. My adult memories are here. I recognize the orchards, remember when they will bloom in the spring and fruit later in the year. I commented to myself this year that certain pastures had been turned to vineyards or planted with young fruit or nut trees. I mourned the loss of the forests obliterated by the Rim Fire of two summers ago, but celebrate the return of meadows in their place.
Had dinner with friends last week at the Iron Door in our little town of what? Two blocks plus the adjacent recreational community complete with golf course and airport? Had known the mother of our waitress -- who herself was several years older than my children. Faces change, but the memories are constant. So is the spirit of this place.
Yes, it was 102 in Sonora yesterday. But the heat is dry so not oppressive, and welcome after last week's cold and damp. More rain will be welcome, so long as it comes without lightning and threat of wild land fires -- although with so much fire damage around town, there is not much left to burn. On the down side, the California Buckeye, the first shrub/tree to brown out in preparation for fall, is already beginning to turn in some spots on the New Priest Grade. That's mid-August weather, not late May.
Clarkia, the wildflower also known as Farewell to Spring, is in bloom along the roadsides and hillsides. I noticed its lavender blanket on the Hetch Hetchy power line right of way up Moccasin Peak. This is its season. The dogwoods are still blooming in Yosemite Valley, and the golden-orange wallflowers are adding their own bit of color. It is far too late for the lupine, meadow foam, and that little yellow wildflower that my friend Verna called pee-the-bed (use your imagination on that one!) which blooms in the spots where the shallow puddles form in the pastures and meadows. Too late for the daffodils, almost too late for the Pacific Coast Iris -- either in the wild or in my garden.
Later this week I will drive up into the burn area, just to be there once, watching the cycle of destruction and recovery.
Don't forget to pray....