Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful For Tidepools & Oceans

This Thanksgiving I've come home to Santa Cruz.  Santa Cruz is the city where I grew up and my mother now lives in the same house that my grandparents used to live in; a house my grandfather designed and built himself. The house and the town holds lots of wonderful memories for me but even as a child I knew Santa Cruz wouldn't be my home forever. Filled with surfers, self-proclaimed hippies and little shops selling crystals and tarot cards the city has always been unique but it isn't my scene. While I was a resident here I longed for the museums, department stores, restaurants, clubs, urban culture and ethnic diversity that can only be found in the larger cities of this country. It was my longing for those things that prompted me to move to San Francisco when I was only seventeen. It's what brought me to New York and now LA. Despite spending almost all of my childhood years in Santa Cruz I have always identified much more with San Francisco. Over the years Santa Cruz has grown considerably. There are condos where there used to be communes. But it's still Santa Cruz and I still know that I will never want to move back here.

And yet whenever I do come for a visit I remember what there is to love about this place. There is no denying its beauty. I love the way the seals and otters play in the harbor. I love the way the air is so crisp and clean. I love the sense of peace that permeates this place with the quiet roar of the ocean. Two Thanksgivings ago I took my son (then 10) to see the tide-pools by the beach and he pointed out a small crab who had made his home in one of them. "For that crab living in that tide-pool is like living in Santa Cruz," he said. "The crab's whole world is that tide-pool, he's totally sheltered and protected from the ocean and everything that's in it! He might not even know the ocean's there!"

"But," he said, looking up at me with a sweet little smile, "it's a very pretty tide-pool. Plus it's not like any of the other tide-pools around it. It's not a bad place for him to live."

As usual my son summed up my feelings in a metaphor that is much more accurate and poetic than anything I could have come up with myself.

Personally, I love living in my metaphorical ocean and I can't see myself ever giving it up for anything smaller or more tame. But I do enjoy visiting my old tide-pool every once in a while and I understand why so many of my childhood schoolmates have chosen to stay.

It's incredibly pretty here.

1 comment:

Robin Kaye said...

Wow, Kyra - out of the mouths of babes, huh? My tide-pool is Brooklyn and I'd give my eye-teeth to live there. It's close enough to the crossroads of the world to please me, but yet quiet enough to keep me sane (or as sane as I'll ever be). But then I love living in Boise too--as long as I can hop on a plane and get back to NY a few times a year. I get tide-pool sick...