Oh, I’ve missed her green grass, her gentle breezes and the rhythmic sound of the ocean waves lapping at her shore. I missed the amorous chorus of frogs along the creek side in spring, and the intoxicating smell of a double-double at In-N-Out. Most of all, I missed her wide-eyed optimism, that reckless abandon of a life on the edge, and the idealism of her eternal sunshine of the spotless mind.
Somewhere, lost in my reverie, I’m startled awake to the sound of lawn and leaf blowers, to Jack and Dianne racing their Ferrari through bumper to bumper traffic along the 405, lurching between the carpool lane and the curb. They check their makeup in the mirror as they whiz past identical row upon row of clay-tiled stucco enclaves with perfect landscaping, pausing only at the Sherman Oaks Galleria to bow at the feet of the god of conspicuous consumption while they wash down some tiger's blood or the perfunctory mocha latte half-cafe with a twist. In the journey to the center of the mind, it's a land, please understand, where fantasy is fact... but you might not come back. It’s a world where the pagan-like celebration of immortal youth is occasionally interrupted by the untimely plunge of a BMW over a cliff on Malibu Canyon or that embarrassing late night celebrity mug shot on TMZ. Winning.
I shake myself and ask, “Am I awake, or was that a dream?”
A cold blast of winter confirms my response, lucidity returns… but the dream still lingers. I confess, I still fantasize about California. Her arms cling tightly around my waist as we race along the peaks of Mulholland Drive; it’s an intoxicating ride and I’ve never felt more alive. I feel the warmth of her sun on my back, the warm Santa Ana winds in my hair and I scream out, “We are golden gods! We are invincible!”
But then, veracity hits me like Bogart’s cold slap in the face or a slug from a .44. High in the mountaintop fortress of solitude, Yepa beckons, and her immortal truth never takes a holiday. The days grow colder, I grow older, and I must accept the hand of fate; nothing lasts forever.
California, she’s always on my mind; you never forget your first love. We shared a thrill ride to the top of the world and I’ll never forget her. But high above the clouds at the fortress of solitude, I’ve heard a call to a simpler life; it’s a life of enlightenment in the alpine peaks that fits me like a comfortable old hiking shoe. Yes, I still daydream about California and the good times we had, but now it’s over.
Don't cry for me, California. The truth is, I never left you... you left me. But I'm not bitter, I've found a safe harbor for my heart; her name is Colorado.