I met Kristine in college twenty years ago in painting class. Of course, after a few years we lost touch. Imagine my surprise when I met her again two years ago and we both had a kid the same age. We started hanging out once in a while and discovered that it is as if no time has past (I love it when that happens!) We also discovered that the best place to meet was the Old Adobe State Park, since it is halfway between our houses. This is an oddly overlooked state park, not just because it is so beautiful but because it is the site of General Vallejo’s adobe home, the first building in the area built by non-Native Americans. It is also odd because everyone knows about it, yet no one goes there.
This place is quiet. It is eerily authentic with its rustic, spare decor and its cowhides slung across fence rails. You imagine yourself living a really uncomfortable western life there. Adobe Creek, the town’s original water supply, runs innocently past. Maybe it is this overt reminder that life was so hard out here during the adobe’s time that keeps people away. We don’t want to think about life without our comforts and stores, central heat and soft beds. I know I don’t, not really. It wasn’t so long ago out here that life shifted from hunter-gatherer tribes living their own comfortable life off the land to colonization and the strange stoic roots of our modern culture.
And Kristine and I continue to meet here, when we think of it, once in a while. And our kids play in the leaves, and run past the cacti, and on the balconies with ghosts and we talk about our lives, past, present and future, as if we are anywhere.