Superwoman and I enjoyed our San Diego trip.....for the most part. She was held back a bit by my limitations and I was intermittently very happy and overwhelmingly melancholy.
I was born in San Diego and spent many very happy years there. I've traveled a bit and still believe it is one of the earth's beautiful cities. Chances are very large that I'll never see it again.
The primary purpose of the trip was to visit my sister and brother and their families but it morphed into me visiting some of my favorite places, evoking emotional upheavals, then trying to contain the waves of sadness knowing I would never lay eyes on them again.
The San Diego Zoo, where no matter how old you are you can always find a sense of wonder and amazement at nature's diversity. In a time gone by I'd walk the miles of trails until the Zoo closed and then sit outside the fences well past dark to listen to the howls and screeches that a typical Zoo visitor never experiences.
The Ocean Beach Pier that extends so far out into the ocean that the sound of the breaking surf is a distant whisper. Years ago I would use fishing as an excuse to escape to that place where salty tears mix easily with ocean spray. There was an understanding among the characters that fished the deep waters that we were all casting more than bait into the vastness. Vietnamese families fishing for food hoped that the place somehow offered security. Mexican men laughing away their burdens as they sipped warm beer from cups as there was no alcohol allowed. We would quietly stare into the water waiting for the tug of some creature. There would be bursts of energy when someone hooked a stray mackerel, attracting the stares of pier-walkers and the short-lived admiration of other fishermen. Then quiet would return, allowing waves of unwelcome introspection. Hours after sunset I would walk the long pier back to the beach. Each step bringing the sound of the breaking surf ever louder and reality ever closer.
There was always a lightening of burdens as if each cast of my line was throwing away unnecessary cares. In truth it was the time spent alone, in the salty air, allowing unbridled introspection. Staring not into the water but into my soul. I became a better man fishing that pier. Never would a visit to the OB Pier not leave me feeling lighter. Until this visit.
Sunset Cliffs has many of the same qualities as the Pier except the waves crash violently and loudly against the eroding sandstone rock. Each visit was different. The surf higher or the tide lower, the wind gently caressing or blowing hard enough to require a lean as I would near the cliff edge. There were no epiphanies in my relationship with Sunset Cliffs, only a profound appreciation for its beauty. That must be why I broke down and sobbed when it was time to leave.
I will never stand precariously at the edge of those crumbling cliffs, hear those sounds, or smell that air again. I'm weary of saying goodbye.