I pulled onto the Antioch bridge with the sunset glowing in my rear-view mirror. My neighbor Paul’s jeep came through the toll at the same time as I did. I paused and let him travel over the bridge ahead of me. I could not decide whether to take the long way home. My inclination to enter the loop by way of Twitchell Island Road firmed into resolve when Paul illuminated his signal. I followed him through the winding levee system all the way into our Park.
When I disembarked from the RAV, he stood by his vehicle waiting. “I saw you as I came through the toll,” he called cheerily. I answered on the same high note, admitting that I had been following him, knowing that the twisted route could be more safely traversed on his tail lights. “I had you covered,” he assured me. We parted on our respective stoops.
I brunched in Berkeley, browsed a used bookstore, and spent the afternoon sitting by the sea. Another day in Northern California, fine and warm; as I left the coast for the Delta, my heart kept its joyful tone. I’m finding the days here more conducive to this mission than the life back in Missouri. It’s easier not to complain when the air shimmers with the salt of the sea and the glow of an early and lasting spring.
Now the darkness surrounds my tiny house. The neon light on the neighboring RV glows steadily. I hear an occasional call, an owl or a mourning dove. Mild tension grips my shoulders, the kind I always feel when I’ve driven for too long. But I don’t mind. I got to see my friend Kimberley today; and to gaze upon my Pacific in the company of a jolly sort of fellow. The aches and pains of my small and narrow existence can be borne, with such pleasures hovering nearby.
It’s the twenty-first day of the fifty-second month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.