After a couple of days in California, I've stopped to think about my attitude toward the State. People I love live here, and many of those who have moved away can't wait to visit. If I could get the people I love to visit us in Colorado instead, I probably wouldn't come back unless we were going to Disneyland. I do love Disneyland, especially on a drizzly day when there aren't too many people around.
I'm not sure how a person can live somewhere for over 35 years and never feel like that's where their roots are. It was home, but my heart wasn't in it. We had some wonderful years in California. Friends worth driving two days to see still live here and have never driven out to see us—yet. Sooner or later they will also retire, and travel will undoubtedly go both ways. It's beside the point.
What I'm trying to discern is my emotional distance from an area that holds so many ties for me. I have friends, relatives and a history here. I drive past the home where we lived from 1976 until 2006, and there isn't even a twinge of nostalgia. We raised three sons there, and I feel all the emotional impact imaginable when I think of them, but looking at that house that used to be our home? I feel nothing beyond what I would feel staring at an old piggy bank used to save up to buy what you really wanted.
We used to drive through Hidden Valley together, John and I, and he'd say, "Someday I want an acre of my own." Even then John felt about the suburbs the way I did. Now we have that acre and a little more. One of the things we first liked about the home we chose in 1976 was that it was at the end of a dead end road, turn right, and pass three vacant lots. They put the road through, made it a major traffic artery, and put homes so close together on all those vacant lots there were twice as many students in the classrooms at the local school.
Crowding, of course, combined with traffic is bad. Weather is something very few people complain about in Southern California. Except me. I always did. I think you have to have seasons. I don't like Summer to begin with. If I don't get a Winter to balance it, then I'm really cranky. If it's just one of four seasons, then I can deal with it (as long as I have air conditioning.) The rumor in Southern California is that it really doesn't get that hot, so you don't need a/c. Lies, I tell you—lies! You need it. My air conditioning system was about four showers a day and a fan in every room.
But...today my friend Sherrie (one of the people worth a 20 hour road trip to see) took me for a drive. We saw Lake Sherwood and Hidden Valley. She drove me up Potrero Road, and we saw the old hills where John and I used to drive and dream together of our 'someday' acre. The beauty is still there. It was hot, but it's Summer, so it's probably hot at home, too. There was traffic, but there's traffic aplenty in Denver. I wouldn't be able to live in Denver, either.
As always, I come to a point where I know that I'm glad I came. Even though I never managed to grow roots here, so many wonderful people did, that part of my heart will always feel welcome to visit.