I miss California


Picture yourself standing at the top of a mountain; sun beams glistening and sparkling onto the snow, a pink and purple pastel sky, with clouds engulfing you in their eerie grasp. Imagine a feeling of pride and accomplishment bellowing into your chest as well as happiness radiating from your heart.

Each day as I sit at my desk, I take myself back to this moment. I take myself back to this moment of stress-free, sweet serendipity. When I think back to this moment, my heart can’t help but ache. I ache because I long to go back to my adventures in California. I remember all of it just like it was yesterday, and with each day that goes by, I miss it more, and more, and more.

There was a night when we stayed in Lassen National Park. We were supposed to be backpacking in the wilderness, but our plans fell through because of some unsafe weather conditions. There was unnecessary drama between the group and our meal did not turn out as yummy as we had hoped. Nothing was going right. But in reality, everything was perfect. We ended up sleeping in a parking lot, underneath the stars, bundled up by a bonfire. I don’t think it could have gotten much better than that. We lined up all of the sleeping bags in a circle, with all of our heads facing in. The stars were brighter than anything I have ever seen before. We sat around the bonfire and shared intimate moments with each other. With each story and memory we shared, we grew closer through mounds of laughter. In that exact moment, I was absolutely and completely happy. I think back to that moment, and I can feel how grateful I was to have been able to experience that.

There was a night where we camped in Big Sur. We had just driven all day, doing nothing except talking and sleeping. But there was a moment where all of us got a surge of ecstatic energy. We took a pit stop at an ice cream shop called Frankie’s. Most of us got double scoops and after finishing those, we ran, and we sang, and we danced. Either we were affected from the sugar in our ice cream, or we were stir crazy. But either way, we went crazy. We drove along the coast of the ocean with the door to our van all the way open. The wind tangled through all of our salty hair, and the music was blasted as high as it could go. We sang songs like “September,” “Kings and Cross,” “Sweet Caroline,” “Jessie’s Girl,” and more. It was in that exact moment that I was absolutely and completely happy. I think back to that moment and can’t even fathom how life can get much better than that.

On our last night in Yosemite, we went in a hot spring. We walked along a long pathway of wooden planks, across a field of long, scratchy grass and through a pile of sand. The hot springs were empty, and we split into groups of five and slowly inched into the hot waters. The night itself was so enjoyable. It wasn’t too hot, but it wasn’t cold. The water in the hot springs gave me tingles shivering up through my spine and body. And although this moment was small, it was one that I will always remember.

It is because of days like these that make me miss California. I hear certain songs on the radio or catch a whiff of a familiar scent, and I can’t help but ache for these moments. Going and traveling to California was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Each day I miss it, and I hope that someday I can eventually go back.