It is officially my second-to-last night in Santa Cruz.
I’m alone now. Andrew and Lauren are at their new apartment in Oakland and Mike is spending some time with his family in San Jose before we hit the road Friday morning for what promises to be an amazing cross-country journey.
I spent the day packing, crossing things off my to-do list, breaking down the few pieces of furniture I purchased while on the west coast and completing some shady, Craigslist sales on our oceanfront sidewalk, doing laundry, folding clothes and vacuuming all but one room of the apartment we’ve called home for about a year and a half.
In the afternoon, just after the peak temperature broke, I abandoned my duties and laced up my new sneakers to take a run along West Cliff. I ran past The Rock, the dog beach, the lighthouse and The Lane before turning left on to Pelton and finishing my ~2 mile run back at our apartment, ankles worn red from the unfamiliarity.
Hours later, after a color-soaked sunset over the Pacific, now, I am embracing my nightly ritual of whiskey on our deck – one typically enjoyed with headphones in, listening to music and letting music take my mind through my past, present and future.
Hip-hop to country to pop to classic rock, anything with a melody and a story.
Tonight, it’s raining in Santa Cruz. An event that graces us so very infrequently that I cannot even tell you the last time we were this fortunate in this sleepy little beach town. I can count the times on one hand since I moved here.
We’re in the middle of a century-worst drought.
Tonight, tonight, as the first rain drops hit the concrete courtyard a couple stories below my feet, I pull the earbuds from my ears.
As I sip my whiskey and take choice pulls from my smoke, I know that tonight music cannot and will not be what takes me through to the next sunrise.
Tonight, I’m listening to the soft sound of rain on our deck and pool.
I’m smelling the fresh rain on the grass and on the asphalt.
I’m embracing the stray drops that hit my dry body whenever they make their way past our deck’s overhang to me in this dollar store beach chair.
I’m listening to the waves crash on the rocks 150 yards from where I sit.
I take another sip, another drag and close my eyes to replay the finest moments of this journey.
Tonight. Tonight. Music won’t do.
It’s about time to connect all five senses with reality. It’s only taken me two years to figure that out.