We've completed a sweep through my past; we've visited all the west coast cities I ever lived in: Seattle, Seaside, and yesterday, San Francisco. Nostalgia ran deep. My time in Seattle ended 25 years ago; Seaside, 37, San Fran, 44. In each place, we drove by places I lived, worked, hung out. The folks I knew then are mostly gone, moved - I was never great at maintaining any but the deepest relationships.
The reconnections I was able to make, and those still ahead, in L.A., San Diego, Phoenix, Houston, Atlanta...all have a future as well as a past. And aside from Atlanta, these are places I know very little or not at all - new landscapes and city-scapes to learn.
This is a great trip to be taking with Ponczka. We've now been together through almost all the places either of us has ever lived, and quite a few more besides. We've travelled one another's geographies. And geography means something, means so much. I feel the effect these different environments have had on me.
Yesterday, I was remembering hitch-hiking to San Francisco from Atlanta, just after turning twenty and being out of school for the first time in my life. That trip was very much about opening up new pathways into a different future. Back then, what San Francisco represented to me was alternate lifestyles and alternate ways to thinking and being. It was, for example, the place I first allowed myself a self-definition that wasn't centered around being Black. When I arrived, I did not immediately go to the Fillmore, San Francisco's Black community, because I was much more interested in Haight-Ashbury. I allowed myself that: to be moved by what I was drawn to. rather than what I thought I was supposed to be drawn to. And therefore, I found myself mostly meeting young White people, some of them hippies, mostly travellers as I was, mostly explorers, as I also was, looking for how to be other than how they'd always been defined.