Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Home for the holidays

Riding my bike to work through the sunny streets of Glendale this morning was a bit of a mind-trip. My body felt like it was just adjusting to the cold winter when suddenly all the trees were green, the sunny air was full of heat and I didn't even need to be wearing the gloves I had on. I realize I'm probably romanticizing winter still, but I probably could have used a little more cold weather. Oh well, I'll get over it. 

For a Minnesota winter though, it has been VERY mild. The first few days I was in town everyone kept commenting on how I must have brought the weather home with me, which I suppose I milked for my Christmas present, since it was all I could really afford anyway. Minneapolis and Rochester had NO snow at all while I was there. My parent's yard usually has feet of snow in it by now. Here's how it looked on the morning of the 1st of 2012, after a few inches of snow fall the night beforehand:

Without my sister and I in the house, Papa's got all the wood chopped already. It did get pretty cold towards the end of my trip. On my last morning, while waiting for the bus at the intersection of Snelling and St Clair for about 30 minutes in sub-zero winds, I felt like I had gotten every bit of Minnesota I had needed out of the trip. I had nearly fallen like a fool with my grip-less California shoes in the ice and snow. I spent a week bouncing between friend's houses across the city, lugging my rolly suitcase from one doorstep to the next.

It was so lovely to arrive without knowing exactly where I would be most of the nights and days and to fill them all in warm friend's apartments with great food, wine and comfortable beds. I don't care that I told the same story over and over again. It was good to reconnect and be with people who just know you. The types that you don't have to explain the anecdotes or what has happened in the last few years that has made me who I am. I saw so many more people whom I didn't expect to see, like my old roommate Nataly and my good friend Emelia's boyfriend and his family.

One of the best nights of my week and a half in Minnesota was spent at the "lit-together": the annual get-together of lit-kids who graduated in 2007 from Perpich. I spent the night at my friend Jessie's, talking and laughing with those wonderful artist writer women. Shannon, our Jr teacher, even showed up, had a drink with us and gave us a writing prompt. Something magical happens when a group of people create art together, and when its the group of us, given all our history and years of practice, it's an exceptional experience. I'm so blessed to still be in touch with this group.

After Christmas with the Cashman family in Rochester and my week with friends in Minneapolis, I went north to my parent's house where we had a more intimate family Christmas and I celebrated New Years with the folks of Clover Valley. This is a tradition I have not been able to share in for the past few years because I've been in cities like New York and New Orleans to ring in the new year lately, but it was perfect to return to these roots this year. Even to be in the frozen forest on the cold evening, sitting by the huge bonfire that Leo makes felt like it put me in the introspective and quiet place that people talk about on New Years Eve. 2012 opened around me delicately, a breath coming out from between parted lips and rising into cold air in a mist. I sat with my arms around my old friend Marta while my dad played Auld Lang Syne on his guitar at midnight and felt so happy to be at home.

My parent's living room, January 1st, after a snowfall outside.

Anna and I, Christmas Eve.

Mama and I, New Years Eve.

Leo's bonfire, dying down to it's ashes.

The New Years Eve party, towards the end of the night while most were outside at the fire.

And at the end of it all, I was so happy to jump on that airplane and go back to my life. Seeing people and relaxing was great, but I love my life here in California, I love the routine of my job, I love my new friends here. And who can complain about being able to ride a bike to work in the sun every morning, when the world smells like spring?

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