We drove around Lemolo and Suquamish in her convertible and talked about the way the sun peeks through the shadows of the trees in the morning as it rises, and the way the trees on either side of the road converge in the middle, leaving only a glimpse of sky, feeling like you are in a tunnel, but not feeling confined the way I do when on the freeway. We talked about the trees; about how the trees here are the best of all, aside from maybe the birch trees of the northeast with their white and tan striped bark and their sporadic spacing. But the trees here, so green you can feel it and smell it and breathe it. And we talked about when you reach the top of a hill and see the mountain peeking out into the sky-- as you drive forward it feels larger, and yet more distant, more massive, more of a phenomena, as if something that monumental couldn’t even exist naturally.
And we talked about how the yellow lines of the highway set up a parallel structure, a path you can follow to find your way to something even more beautiful than the last. And that is the thing—we keep searching for something more and more beautiful, be it a person, a mountain, a book, a song, a shirt, or a feeling, but time accounts for a lot, because people often return to the beauty that they have known the longest. We can’t rid the feeling of home. We can’t rid the familiar feeling of a full kitchen on a November morning, when the sky is just gray enough to stay in all day, like you do every year, and drink coffee and read books and play music and bored games with your mother and father and brother and uncle. We can’t rid the feeling of knowing all the words to our favorite song and screaming them from the windows of our first car that may not be fashionable, but is reliable. We can’t rid the feeling of the sweater that we have worn so many times it is fading and the seams are coming undone, but it smells and feels like home. We can’t rid the feeling of knowing a person so well, that their relationships feel as natural as the smell of blackberries on a hot august day. We can’t rid these feelings, and we don’t want to either. We relish in their familiar comfort, their feeling of home. The world is lovely, full, and intricate, but while those parallel yellow lines will always take us away, out of our comfort zone and to adventures, they will also always return us to the beauty that steeps inside of us, only getting stronger with time.
And with every mile further on the road, past the open deserts crackling or the waterfalls dripping through andesite, we get further away from the memories that just happened, but closer to memories about to happen. And to live in the moment becomes impossible, because life is just a string of moments hung together by associated emotions. So we see El Capitan once more and sometimes we can’t differentiate the feeling from the last time. The more we experience the same action, place, food, song, or person, the more they start to feel familiar, and they, either quickly or slowly, become a home to us.