textiles · exploration · misadventure

Saying Home


073California’s Interstate 5 is a 1,400-mile-long highway that has a reputation, particularly in its 460-mile stretch through Sacramento and San Joaquin Valleys, for utter homogeneity and the ability to bore even hardened highway veterans to stunned vapidity.

For me, that stretch is the best part.

119From my earliest memories my family drove I5, from Los Angeles to San Jose where we visited Jack and Glenda , or to Fresno and Pine Flat Lake where we camped on the shore and waterskied for days, or to Shasta for even longer waterski vacations, or sometimes even to parts further north in Oregon: Crater Lake, or my sister Juli.

072I get onto I5, and honestly, it’s a bloody long drive to LA, but mostly all I see along the way is beauty, and mostly all I feel is drunk on memory and nostalgia and peace.

I drive slowly compared to other interstate drivers, so mostly I just hang out in the right lane and take my time.

The scenery is what I call The Landscape of My Heart. I’ve talked about it before, how the classic California landscape affects me. When I’m in it, I tend to relax more, to feel at home, and that’s what driving I5 says to me, no matter which way I drive it, north or south. Home.

Home of the heart.

I drove it recently, when I went home to LA, to help my mother . And it was stupendously beautiful.

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123I5 gives me time to reflect. I get to think about where I’m going, and where I came from, and how each make me feel, and whether I’m going in the right direction.

I get to remember the visit I’m leaving behind, but don’t yet need to think about the responsibilities that wait for me back in San Francisco.

082I get to imagine, and long, and lay plans. And the landscape I’m driving through makes me feel like maybe someday some of my dreams might actually come true.

086On I5, there’s always time for a good cry if you need one.

You can just go ahead and wail and slobber, and ain’t nobody ever going to hear you, and let me tell you there have been times when I’ve needed that.

You can talk to yourself, you can whimper, you can scream out loud. You can be as morose as you need to be, you can swear and spit and say horrible things about yourself or other people, and I5 just takes it in stride and comforts you.


You can giggle and chortle to your heart’s content, and nobody will look at you like you’re crazy. You can talk your way through confusion and ambiguity, or pray out loud, or lose your train of thought and find it again without anybody interrupting you.

And then that part ends, and I’m driving up the Grapevine pass. The tilt of this land, the hills colored like lions, the bare and revealed gelogic structure, has always moved me deeply.


And the pass this year is lousy with orange California poppies like I’ve never seen it, not in all of the forty years I remember climbing the grade, a last gift before I’m over Tejon Pass and down into Castaic, first outpost of the LA Metropolitan Region, the concrete jungle I’ll pass through for another hour or two before I make it to mom’s, which is lovely, but isn’t quite home.


And I feel like I’ve been comforted the whole way. Supported somehow, which is odd in that I5 is inanimate and yet I anthropomorphize it so completely. It speaks to me, it always has, and it says, “Home.”

15 thoughts on “Saying Home

  1. I love you and I LOVE your posts! They make me feel things. It’s good to feel. It’s good to know I’m alive and capable of feeling after so many years of not feeling. Your blog is very cathartic for me! I5 is such a dreaded drive for me, but is IS beautiful in its way. Lots of time to delve into myself. It is my heart too. It is the long journey that leads us to the choices we’ve made in can lead you to your dreams coming true…if you let it.

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    • I’m so glad you have made the changes to your health and life that are allowing you to feel again after so many years of feeling trapped, and this blog helping you cathart out the crap makes me feel lucky and grateful I can do something for you. I know we love so many of the same things, it’s fun to remind you of them in this way and to know at least one person will “get” them.


  2. Your thoughts on your trip up I5 really brought back so many fun and happy memories to me. Like tossing around special “Devils Food Cake” cookies and trying to devide pound cake while going around curves, up hill and over dale. And best of all stopping every 20 minutes for someone to pee..,nothing like traveling with 5 females of various ages. Drove the one lonely male to buy a motor home. I loved our trips!!;,😁


    • MOM! I’m so glad. We did have some fun times, and I totally remember the pound cake and cold milk you kept in that cooler by your feet. It was always such a welcome break in the tedium of the drive. If only I’d appreciated the fact that we were driving dad nuts back then, I would have enjoyed it more. [evil cackle]


      • God, I miss those trips. Laying on piles of pillows in the cavernous back of the station wagon. Pound cake!!! Makes me want to go buy some!

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        • It has been a LONG time since we had a good road trip together. Tell me it hasn’t been 18 years—since the trip to Colorado when you were pregnant with Lizzie? Tell me there’s something in between now and then that’s slipping my mind!


  3. Beautiful post! The images, and your words.

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