Labor Day.

“Something good will come of all things yet.”
– Jack Kerouac

It was a hot, humid morning when I left New York, every bit as hot as it had been eight weeks prior, the last time I fled the city to seek the sanctuary of a rocky beach in the Pacific Northwest.

And yet, even as I settled my tired body – already sweaty at seven thirty in the morning – into the back seat of a taxi cab and we drove east through Harlem, I could feel the summer waning, feel the drumbeat of autumn, feel the looming threat of barren trees and crisp days and  – before long – fresh snowfall. I had felt it the day before too, trudging along Amsterdam Avenue on my way to the Morningside Heights post office, as the influx of new Columbia students poured out onto the city streets. Something about their wide eyes and dewy faces screamed “Fall is coming!” And I realized as much as I’d grown weary of my swampy apartment, the mosquito bites dotting my legs and my impossible-to-tame hair, I wasn’t ready to say goodbye to summer yet. It had gone too fast.

I have a keen awareness of time passing that I didn’t have before I moved to New York. Years ago, I remember being told by east coast friends that the lack of seasons in Los Angeles skews your sense of time, something akin to spending too long in a Vegas casino. Think glittering lights, pumped-in oxygen, absent clocks. I pretended to understand what they meant, but the truth is, I didn’t. I was eighteen years old when I moved to L.A., and before that, I’d lived in Washington State and Alaska. Places with weather for sure, but not the sharp swing of extremes I had already experienced during my first year on the east coast. The lightning storms, the Nor’easters, the way the sky would suddenly open up and pour out buckets of rain, all of this was new to me. All of it seeming to signify the impermanence of the present moment, that this, too – be it good or bad – shall pass.

As I write this blog, it’s Labor Day weekend, and I’m exactly where I was this time last year, staring out at the silver mirror of Case Inlet from the living room of the beach house where my grandparents lived for most of my life. This house – once a buzz of activity – sits largely empty now. Each time I return, I do my best to fill up the lonely spaces. I brew strong coffee and drink too much of it. I unfurl my red sticky mat and practice amateur yoga in the living room. I watch as much Mariners baseball as I can, occasionally (often) yelling at the TV. I wrap myself in my grandmother’s old yellow afghan and watch the sunset from the same weathered porch swing I used to climb on as a child. And sometimes, in the morning, I’ll put on my grandfather’s enormous emerald green bathrobe – still hanging from the hook on the back of the door of his old room – and find comfort in the weight of its heavy cotton against my skin.

This place, this beach, is my anchor. It’s my back up plan if everything else goes wrong. Three of the four times I’ve traveled west since I moved to New York, I’ve returned here. To see my family. To remind myself where I come from. During an often confusing and challenging year, it has been my safe harbor. My true north. For a while, as I struggled through seasonal depression and various physical ailments, I was convinced I had made a mistake by leaving L.A. It’s only now, returning to the very spot where I planned my move a year ago, that I can see that everything I did was right. That the adventure I began back then is not ending but beginning.

The day before I flew to Seattle, I finally had a conversation I’d been dreading. The year lease on my Morningside Heights sublet was almost up, and I wasn’t sure if my landlord would allow me to stay beyond the twelve-month period we’d agreed to. Technically, I had been living in someone else’s apartment – my landlord’s daughter – who could choose to return at any time.

“I’m not sure what your plans are,” I wrote, “But I’d love to stay until Christmas, and then we could reassess from there?”

“No problem,” she replied, adding that her daughter had no immediate plans to return to New York, and that, when she did, she wanted to live in Brooklyn “for a while.”

“Let’s see what develops,” she added.

I suppose “seeing what develops” is exactly what I’ve been doing this past year. And now that it finally feels like it’s working out, I see no reason to stop. After all, if everything goes wrong, the beach will still be here.

Until next time, friends.

8 thoughts on “Labor Day.

  1. I to am reminded, even when I feel like I am drifting, and I am a little bit at the moment, every time I go home that I am where I am suppose to be on this crazy incredible yet tumultuous journey called life. I love my hometown, and it will always be there awaiting me, if I ever want to return permanently or just to say a quick hi. that is the magic of our childhood, it is like our safety blanket or nuk. I hope you have an amazing Labor Day Weekend! ❤

    • Thank you, my friend. I appreciate your kind words as always. I’m sorry to hear that you feel like you’re drifting. Just remember, the ocean teaches us to swim with the current, rather than against it. Wishing you a wonderful Labor Day weekend. x

  2. Listening to OMD – 80s.

    There is one thing that an adventurous free spirit such as us Taurus should never do. Math, never calculated how many bites left in your cheese cake. Never calculate how many seasons there in every year, for you should just experience them, every one of them to their fullest.

    And never ever calculate how many years you have left, especially if you’ve previously calculated how many breathes the average human takes in one day, or in 80 years. Because there are just something’s in life, you are forbid to peek at. You were born a free spirit, and you should depart as a free spirit. You were not meant to be chained at lovely ankle to places or past. 16 breaths per minute – 960 breaths per hour – 23, 040 breaths per day – the final answer are quite frightening indeed. Don’t count your seasons and sunsets, instead enjoy them…

    I am beginning to realize that to be a Taurus, that no one nest will ever do, that we are meant to fly, we are meant to explore, new adventures and now friends… you know, like taste each and every cheese cake.

    • Hahaha! As always, wisdom in your words. But I have to correct the record: I’m not a Taurus, I’m a Sagittarius. 😉 Though every bit the adventurous free spirit and meant to fly. Wishing you well friend. x

      • A Sagitar! …well I don’t believe it, you’ must be a smoke n’ talented Taurus.

        List n’ to Chris Rea – ‘Texas Blue’ – and ‘BB was a Comanche’ 12 disc Blues box set’ High’ high’ high’ yah gotta hear it. check him out and you’ll know my crazy. 🙂

        Is there any way possible you could change your birth date to between the days of April 20 to May 21? Probably not as it could be messy, I mean what would a cross between a Brahma Bull and a Centaur sporting a bow and arrow be? Answer: dangerous with sharp pointy arrows and smoke n’ hot as extremely talented.

        It kills me to see a know people with your talent skills and creative levels. My youngest Daughter is such a person; oh man can she draw with charcoals, but she passes it by, laid down the charcoals. She is a Cancer. I never even clanked at the zodiac until you replied. Sorry to peg you for stubborn, can you ever forgive me for that? Watch those New York electrical storms there, I hear that are wild, and dangerous. In my blog post about ‘Ball’ lightening’

        I posted a few eyewitness experiences with Ball Lightening Encounters. And the one in New York was, well heck they all were freaky. I don’t know which I hate to encounter in a New York Thunderstorm, a women that locked herself out of her ‘flat’ in the rain and just broke an Italian stiletto heel. Or a Hot Blue glowing Plasma ORB floating along knee hip high and making right angled turns and then imploding with a loud audible Bang as it leaps into a thick glass plate door or a department store sending the doorman wide eyed and screaming as he runs down 5th Avenue.

        Now back in the day, like when my new lady friend Ronda threw me out a window as she chased me backwards laughing (I was laughing) when she was correcting me on her name, as ‘Heart had a Freudian Slip. So I guess as what is life without a thrilling adventure and a chance meeting with a Glowing Blue Plasma Ball in the streets of New York City. Now there’s a War Story for yah, ‘Ball Lightening’ Well got to go, flirts over, and do stay talented and Sagi.

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