Tuesday, August 27, 2013

A Different Planet

My two younger daughters and I recently traveled to Santa Barbara, California to visit their sister -- my oldest daughter, a college senior double majoring in Chemistry and Environmental studies. It was the younger sisters' first time on the west coast, first time dipping their toes into the frigid Pacific. (Fun fact I did not know before: the Pacific is much colder than the Atlantic!) We shopped and dined and hiked the dusty hills surrounding the city.

It's like another planet out there. None of the flora looks familiar, what with all the palm trees, cacti, eucalyptus trees and crazy flowers. We stayed on Isla Vista, a residential colony of mostly college students, including all the frat houses. Needless to say, on garbage day, bins are generally overflowing with red solo cups.

Early one morning, while sitting in the local coffee shop, I wrote a commemorative free verse.:

In a land of sun and palm
Avenues lined with Tri Delta, Pi Beta Phi and Alpha Gamma Chi
I flip flop along
In sleepy dawn.

Far from home
But near in heart for
My girls all are here,
Sleeping warm
Under rumpled blanket
And youthful roof.

Today we will walk the town,
cafe and beach,
Dip our cold toes in that other ocean.

This western sky --
Trimmed in palm and mimosa
Instead of pine and maple --
Seems strangely familiar

A whispering friend
After a long, long journey.

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