Monday, January 7, 2013


    A rest stop outside Bakersfield six years ago yesterday was the setting for our first sunset as transplants in transit. 
    Friends and associates were incredulous when a couple of boomers, rounding 60, pulled up roots and stakes and rode into the sunset, headed west where we knew no one.  Things like doctors, dentists, new driver licenses, where to shop, how to get there, finding friends, new climate and all the details of life were riddles.  It seemed natural to us, not as big a deal as seemingly everyone else wanted to make it. After all when we married we left for a spring and summer to explore Europe-two green kids on a mission of discovery. Later we built a cabin home deep in a rural woods despite my boss's warning  "every day can't be a picnic." Six years ago settling in California read well on our gyroscope.
     Six years ago today, when this frame was snapped, she was ready to begin what has been a creative renaissance. I have watched with pride. Art shows, awards, collectors and buyers, productivity and an artist's emphatic embrace of life.  Mine has been so much richer because of Lana and our exploration of the last six years. She has grown more confident and more beautiful.
     I suspect most of us are inclined toward habit and routine, following the path that is known and comfortable, allowing few, if any, surprises.  Settling in a new home in a village on the California central coast half way between San Francisco and Los Angeles is a guarantee against the routine of the previous life. 
     Please excuse the obvious self absorption of this post but we celebrate our "bold move," convinced it has provided renewal. The other night as I soaked in our spa, watching a meteor shower, hearing the buzz and zip of the cosmic sky show, overwhelmed again by thousands of light pricks in  the velvet depth of space, I thought of myself as a "Californian." I have become what my father did as a young lad, only to leave it to return to Indiana as his father began an ailing journey to death.  Dad always held to that piece of California in his youth, longing for the time when he could return.  That was to be the work of my generation.
      What sweetens this "celebration" are other people.
Notably, a couple of mentors who are coming for a visit this week.
    Bruce and Judy.  He was the experienced broadcast journalist who broke me in when I joined a metro news team.  She was to become his gracious wife who opened a world of sophistication, literature and kitchen magic to us.
    Free spirits, travelers who have taken life on their terms, they were "encouragers", "inspirations," certainly by example.
    And we note those we celebrate with-- frequently-
   Griff and Jacque.  They came for a visit in 2007.  They came back. And they came back.
    And now they live but six minutes away, just through the shire and a mere 100 steps from the Pacific.  They too, packed it up, abandoned mid western winter and what they knew. As Griff says frequently, "I get it!"
    None of us are kids.  We've reached a time when many seek the shelter of certainty, knowing pretty much "all there is to know," being confident "that is just the way it is, and so there."  But something in the transformation of the last six years has kept the dials moving, the channels open, the exploration underway, the learning as daily as breathing.  
    Attitude, lifestyle, examples, and much more conspire to make this bold move a good thing for us. I think a lot of it has to do with the fresh air and light.  I asked an artist/ neuroscientist if he thought the renaissance could have begun anywhere else but in the light of the Mediterranean south, which is the same as the light of California.  After much rumination he offered that "light works on the brain in wondrous ways, unlocking, perhaps, forces that impel or even compel creativity."
    A case in point is perhaps the ringleader.
    Doesn't this look like a pied piper capable of luring aging mid western boomers to the land of the Beach Boys, Eagles, Grateful Dead and Manhattan Beach Blue Grass, even if a few years on?  He did start early.
    High school friend and Ball State fraternity brother Jim began longing for California in 1968.  He made the bold move when we were still kids and quickly became a magnet that drew us for repeated visits, holidays, vacations and the birth of our own longing.
     On one of those early visits he drove us up the coast to Big Sur and the rest is, as they say, history-removed of course by rearing two daughters, careers, aging, and rounding 60! But he finally landed a couple more. And there is no way to say thank you, emphatically enough.
     Bold moves.  It just takes some of us a little longer to get there. But what a great place to be.  
     See you down the trail.


  1. Nice anniversary post. We're looking forward to seeing you guys in a few days.

  2. And you are amply and aptly reward in your world now.
    I just wish I was near when Judy and Bruce appear. Take notes. -w-

  3. Larry and I are giddy about our own countdown to Cali. You and Lana inspire us. I can't wait till our California dreamin' is finally our reality. It's so close I can literally see it clear as day. Cambria will be our first stop for a toast. Get those wine glasses ready, my friend! ~K

  4. We're glad you guys are here...if the Taylor's are driving they better swing by and say Hi!

  5. You really make me miss my California roots. I was born in Alameda and most of my disappearing family lives in the Bay Area. An interesting notion about the quality of light being responsible for the Italian Renaissance. I need to think about that.

  6. Congrats and thanks for sharing the sunshine and good vibrations with us

  7. Great friends, good times and the inspiration are each daily accountings on my gratitude list. Without your example we would not have done it.

  8. Gotta say it's been great having you both on the west coast! Can't believe it's been almost 40 years since we piled into my little yellow truck and headed for Lime Kilns. Special times then, special times now!!!