Nature of Things: What brings me back

By Kimberly Mayer

Journal contributor

What drove me away from the islands in December was the darkness. Now, three months later in San Diego, I am almost ruined. All that light! Even in the historic rainfall this winter, bomb cyclones or atmospheric rivers—call it what you will—there was light. And I got used to that.

Now we leave SoCal, the land of shiny white cars, and drive up the coast, traverse Oregon, the land of trucks, and all of Washington, the land of gray SUV’s. Enormous states all. Finally, ferrying out to what our five-year old grandson refers to as “going to that other country…”

I think that’s what breaks my heart.

I had thought we’d be returning to the island with the rufous hummingbirds, coming up from southern US and Mexico at the same time as them. In my mind’s eye salmonberry and red flowering current would be abloom for our feisty little friends, and we would start being their handmaidens, crazily filling their feeders. Bags of sugar flying off the grocer’s shelf like it was days before Thanksgiving. Kayaks and paddle boards coming and going, revolving doors of houseguests, and every meal on the deck. I saw all this, with spring accelerating into summer.

But there’s more winter to get through apparently. Our route will be more coastal, but still, a Monster Blizzard in the Sierras. Snowfall on island. We’re packing snow chains for the road trip. But it was never about snow; it was the lack of light. Snow is beautiful. And it’s bright.

If there’s one thing we can’t predict, it’s nature. Winter or spring, we’re coming home. To the woods by the sea where Douglas firs and cedars stand and greet us, and madrone trees bend and beckon with open arms.