38 (Thirty- Grateful) / by Hope A

I talk a lot about the weather here.  After almost 3 years in Oakland, the endlessly dry, sunny days, never-hot-enough summers, the lack of seasons, the numerous perfectly temperate days still make me uneasy.  There were a few days this week, finally warm enough to think of swimming, to feel the heat enveloping me even as a breeze brushed by. I say I miss sweating, swimming, staying inside because of a rainstorm, the dramatic skies that accompany a change in weather, but I also miss my friends in other places.  The amenities of my Bay Area life are plentiful, but I would trade a dozen vegan doughnuts for lunch in Philadelphia once or twice a month.  You can have a bay view sunset for a autumn evening in NH.  In exchange for 2 days access to the print shop, could I spend one weekend a month in New Orleans?  What would it take to be able to ride to a friends house in Portland, NY, Seattle, Tucson?  But there is no such barter system.  The down-side to a wonderfully adventurous and mobile 20's and a more stationary late 30's is that I you can't live in the same place as all the people you love. Or even half.  Luckily, many people are charmed by the Bay Area and I had a few old friends here when I arrived.  And I have met a few great people and I am grateful to have them as a part of my life now.  It is a slow process, nothing like the instant friendships of late night adventures after a show, while on tour, or a penal turned date turned penal again.  But it comes.

I complain a lot about California, about Bay Area drivers (if you are going to cede the right of way when it was yours, you don't have to feel smug about it). But slowly, a circle of friends and acquaintances build, layers, and I find myself talking about sequencing yoga classes and discoveries on our personal practice with other teachers. I meeting other printers for coffee and discuss business plans. I have friends who want to talk about art, and music, and even a few who will hear the stories I don't think they'd understudy because we are from different places, yet realizing our troubles--and our joys-- are more universal than that.  And you are willing to come to my place on a Saturday night, meet my other friends from seemingly disparate places and situations and find some common ground. And eat cake. Thank's y'all for a very sweet birthday.

This was also published at Keep Breathing, a blog about yoga-related writing. Not just poses but living life too.