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Love at Fashion Island
My trip to that other homeland of mine, California, was an impulsive and enlightening adventure. With ten days' notice I traipsed off to the airport with sponsored tickets in my paws and all the romantic hopes of a starry-eyed teen. I was treated to every graciousness, yet the same thing that kept my host and I apart when we actually were teens, all those decades ago, floated like a third party there between us. Logic wants to write that maturity and reason dictated our decisions, but it was simpler than that: the nature of some relationships just never changes, whether that nature is filled with hope and faith and everlasting love, or burdened with secrets and fear.

It had been six years since I'd left the Lava Rock to visit the land of my birth, and I'll always be grateful for the chance I got to go out this summer and fall in love with that land all over again. I didn't take many pictures; I suppose I was mostly too absorbed in the whole experience to stop and whip out my camera. 

I did, though, feel compelled to take a photo of the couple pictured above. I was spacing out at the Newport Beach Fashion Island on a lovely warm day when I saw them. They were so glowing and serene, with smiles so warm and loving. I sat at a bench a distance from them and took some shots. When I realized that the man had noticed me, I strolled over and told them that they looked so happy that I just had to take a picture. They smiled at me and actually giggled a bit. Then the man said, "We are happy. We're still in love like it's our honeymoon, and we've been together for 56 years!" My immediate reaction was to place my palms together at heart center and bow to them, and thank them for being so beautiful, and so eternally in love.

Lunch in Malibu
I was also lucky enough to meet so many of the wonderful people from the past, some whom I hadn't seen in 20-plus years! I felt all sorts of other kinds of love: familial, childhood, respectful, honest, undying, loyal and just plain fun-loving. I chatted with this little birdie in Malibu (she stole my cookie!) and saved a wasp from drowning at Zuma, and felt the true, warm, loving embrace of someone I found using only our unbreakable psychic connection. I drove 101 with the windows rolled down in the summer sun, with classic rock on the radio and the hot wind in my hair. I wifi-hopped courtesy of coffee houses filled with friendly faces, and didn't have a single experience to make me doubt the inherent kindness of humans. There are so many others I didn't get to visit this trip, but I suppose it's ok to save them for the next one, which definitely isn't so very far off.

California, I Love You!

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