02: I’m Not From Here

San Diego’s La Jolla and Encinitas Surf.

I’m not from here
I just live here
Grew up somewhere far away
Came here thinking I’d never stay long
I’d be going back soon someday

Poet Laureate James McMurtry penned this for his 1989 album and “I’m Not From Here” fits me fine. As a transplant from Kansas I have grown and appreciated my adopted state of California in the 23-years in San Diego County. I was shocked to do the math as I have spent more time in the Golden State than the Sunflower state.

With retirement on the horizon, my wife and I are makin’ plans to leave the west and go east. What I will miss is the reality of going from surf to snow in under two hours. There are the trips to the metro’s downtown to see a ballgame, play or experience the bay. Backyard cook outs and the lack of flying pests! While winter’s sun sets at 4:40, the summer’s sun will dance to 8.

What I won’t miss is traffic. Even on weekends, the I-5 artery is congested and in need of radical surgery. Mass transit is underbuilt and underfunded. Highways have pot mark scars that give front end shops for cars a decent return because the transportation simply cannot fix the crater size holes on the roads. A 45 mile trip can take 90 minutes on the four to eight lanes of road.

Then, once there, you pay fortune parking your dinged car in a space marked “compact”. The Prius C touches the striped box and despite carefully opening the door, will set off the alarm of the car next door.

Yet despite the shortcomings on some things, there is splendor in the beauty of coyotes yipping during the golden hour, hummingbirds chirping at flower finds, and wind-torn clouds. At nighttime, the stars are “loud” with the desert winds keeping the ocean’s humidity away.

I do not know what the next four years will bring as we prepare to head east. Yes, Horace Greeley, we will do the opposite. The journey will be exciting. I cherish every day, and look for the positive everywhere.

Onto some bright future somewhere
Down the road to points unknown
Sending post cards when we get there
Wherever it is they think we’ll go

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