Here I am, again. At a kitchen table in the hostel at Pigeon Point. I’ve had dinner, a long conversation with a stranger, and a cup of contraband wine. Through the open window, gentle air carries the sound of the sea.
The doctor appointment that should have brought me first into San Francisco got cancelled. I came on the diagonal into Half Moon Bay and down the coast. As I drove, the irritation loosened its grip. Certainly, I will regret the missed meeting which might have led to a fix of the poorly made spectacles that I’ve had to shove in my glovebox for another few weeks. But I do not lament the ability to come to the sea without dragging my feet through the grime of the City.
My friend Joyce writes on her laptop at a table in the living room. At the kitchen counter, a Parisian clears the clutter of his small repast. Nothing has changed, except the dishes which I believe the hostel replaced during lockdown. We didn’t know how long the virus would linger. We all discarded the blouses that we wore during our own bouts with Covid. We shuddered as we burned the kerchiefs we wound around our heads. Only later did they tell us, it doesn’t work like that. We shrugged and told ourselves, better safe than sorry.
But all of that has ended. The hostel re-opened, and now I have returned.
I’ve written at this table on so many occasions. I’ve made breakfast with people from New Zealand, and Santa Cruz, and Boise. I celebrated my 63rd birthday here. The poster on the wall has not changed. I recognize cracks in the tile on the floor of the accessible shower. The old Adirondack chairs behind this building maintain the perfect position to gaze at the cove over the long expanse of ice plants straddling the flood wall. The cant of the evergreens might be more stooped; but the rocks stand sturdy just beyond the buoy. Seagulls fly low as the waves lap the shore, maybe the same ones that I’ve striven in vain to capture on other cell phones, just as I did today.
Here is where my love affair with the coast line began. When I arrived, I eagerly claimed the bed by the window and dragged the slatted chair to a closer position so I’d have somewhere to sit while I dressed. I’m sure it’s the same chair. Perhaps the sheets have been replaced; and the pillow shams; and the quilts. But it all looks the same. It could have been just yesterday that I last visited. Perhaps Genevieve from Down Under, whom I met here and with whom I drove into the redwoods on that birthday five years ago, will come around the corner. She’ll sit with a cup of tea and tell me about her new life in Canada. Maybe Michael, who worked here for at least two decades and retired in 2019, will saunter down the sidewalk smoking a joint. I could swear I saw him, just a glimpse in profile, down at the point watching for whales.
The sun has set in a soft gathering fog. It will rise in eight hours and find me sleeping, soothed by the sweet voice of my Pacific. Pigeon Point, same time, this year; once more, with feelings.
It’s the fifteenth day of the one-hundred and seventeenth month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.