I don’t appreciate being called racist. If people really knew what being racist was then they wouldn’t abuse the term. The man that called me racist was black. Does saying he’s black mean I’m racist? Why didn’t any other person in the room think I was being racist by involving people’s race in my description? All the other people where white in the room. Does pointing out the racial demographic in the classroom make me a racist?
To describe someone, there are different levels of description. There is physical description, which usually comes first and includes gender, race, and any other striking features. Then, once you have had time to observe or get to know the subject, you can begin to describe their character and personality, such as quirks or special traits that make them who they are. The deepest level is intellectually. Describe someone by their passions and beliefs, their goals and life choices.
My roommate asked me the other day that if she were to start a blog about her daily adventures on the bus, would people think she was racist. I said no. And if they do then they need to stop pretending to be self righteous and really examine how they see people.
People like being the ones to call others out on indiscretions that they believe to be accurate. It boosts their moral. They think they are the peace-keeping-love-everyone-skin-color-is-nonexistant-anymore people. Which is ignorant.
Plain and simple. You can observe the physical difference in humans and not be racist.
And if you think this blog is offensive, rethink your thought process when you see HUMANS. Being honest and transparent was once honorable, when did that dissolve?
“Daddy, tell us ‘me and my brothers’!” from the top of the red bunk bed, the little blonde-haired six year-old begged her father. Her big green eyes peered over the wooden edge and won her tired father over within seconds.
“Okay…” The father began his story as his girls leaned in closer and ruffled the blankets and pillows, trying to get comfy, “Well it all started one day when me and my brothers realized that our German shepherd, Sandy, got pregnant by Mr. Jenkins’s big, ugly poodle!” The younger girls gasped with excitement because any story involving puppies had to be good, while the older daughters groaned because they’ve already heard this story multiple times. The father continued on with elaborate over exaggerations and described the adventure of capturing the impregnating poodle in hopes of getting rid of it for good.
“Now, once we had the poodle in the gunny sack, we headed down to the river. But then we realized the poodle had escaped through the hatch under the passenger seat in the van” Silent relief filled the young girls’ eyes. Seeing his daughters’ emotional attachment to any type of animal, no matter how ugly, the father decided to leave the fateful drowning of the poodle unmentioned, and only informed the girls in their later years.
“We never could catch that darn poodle, and Sandy ended up having four curly haired mutts that we had to pay people to take.”
The girls, satisfied with the bedtime story, completed one last yawn as their father tucked the blanket tightly around their bodies and called them his “little burritos”. With a final kiss on the cheek, the lights turned off, and the father closed the door.
One night, the ritual bedtime stories were replaced with Daddy’s songs, only by persistent requests from the daughters. He picked up his guitar and started to strum.
Through the frosted window
I looked out, on the still moon light
And I listened for the distant train
Of Daddy coming home that night
But there were cozy bars and taverns
Along the way home
And I just knew that they had Christmas trees
Of their own
But still I laid awake
Hoping love would find it’s way
Home to me
In Christmas ‘63
Snuggled up in dreams
I fell asleep atop the stairs
In the morning I ran down hoping
Joy would greet me there
But the cookies I set out
Were still on the plate
And the slippers I put by the easy chair
Were still in their place
And I knew the only gift
I ever wanted couldn’t fit
Under a tree; it never found me
In Christmas ‘63
As I turned from my cold reflection
Of my childhood memories
To the warmth and laughter
Of my children playing at my feet
My beautiful wife noticed
A tear fall from my eye
She asked if I was alright
And I said how blessed am I
Jesus, thank you for your tenderness
That rescues me
Your hand of compassion
Reaches back in
Time and memory
And though I’ll never really understand
Your higher ways;
Why some paths are bright
And others marked with pain
But, this Christmas Eve
There’s one less mystery
And tonight I finally see;
Love has found the child of Christmas ‘63
“Okay, one more and then bedtime!” The father told his girls as sternly as he possibly could, which only caused the girls to giggle and roll their eyes.
“Make it a good one Daddy! About Sandy!” the littlest one, with round rosy cheeks and bright eyes said from the bottom bunk. The older girls were sprawled out on the floor, because, though they thought they were too old to get “tucked in” they could never resist their dad’s childhood tales. The preteen girl piped up, “Ugh, no Dad! Tell us about the time you put the potato in the motorcycle exhaust pipe!” The older sister started giggling, “Yeah dad, that one’s my favorite!” The father squinted his eyes shut and cleared his throat, while rubbing his hands together, as if to recollect the memory…or maybe even fabricate some long forgotten details.
“Well, Janet always had a lot of boyfriends. But this one in particular was the best target because he had a motorcycle. So, as Janet brought him in to meet Mom, let’s see, it was me, Cam, and Matt, and I think Jim and Chris too, well we snuck around the house to the front yard where his bike was parked. We had to hurry because Janet knew we had something up our sleeves and she’d be coming out of the house any second. So Cam and Matt started to pour the honey on the handlebars and Chris smeared peanut butter all over the front headlight!” The girls were beginning to snicker because they loved the sabotage stories.
The father continued, with even more flare, “And I got to do the best thing of all…I shoved the potato in the exhaust pipe. We heard the front door start to open and knew Janet was coming! Jim and Matt grabbed all the stuff and we all toppled into the bushes, trying to hold back our laughter. Now, watching Terry Pipkin suavely hop onto his bike to try and impress Janet was the pay off. First he had this confused look on his face as he pulled his hands off the handlebars and saw the strings of the sticky honey, then it turned to disgust, then anger. Janet helped him wipe off the honey and they thought that was all. So Terry sat back down on his bike and Janet got behind him and put her arms around his waist. Terry started to start the engine, but it only sputtered and puttered. He tried again, longer this time and was just about to give up when ‘Phut, phut, phewww, CABOOM!’ The potato exploded and shot out of that pipe! Janet screamed and found us over by the bushes because our laughter was so loud. We just couldn’t hold it in.” The oldest daughter snickered and sighed, “I’m glad I don’t have little brothers.”
The father stood up and stretched, not even trying to conceal his yawn, “Goodnight girls.” The littlest daughter reached out for a kiss and said, “I liked that one Daddy, it was funny.” Her praise was music to his ears.
One night, the middle daughter, who was a young child at the time, called to her father from down the hallway. Her dad came quickly because of the panic in her voice.
“What is it honey?”
She was curled up in her blanket with only her big blue eyes peering out from underneath, “Daddy, I’m scared.”
Her dad came to her bedside and lightly brushed her bangs off her forehead, “What’s scaring you?”
Her eyes darted across the room; she leaned closer to him and whispered, “The shadows”. Her dad followed her gaze and saw her baby dolls and teddy bears casting monster-like figures along the wall. He smiled slightly. He got up and grabbed the fear causing toys and placed them by on the blankets.
“Honey, they were just your toys. See, there’s no need to be scared.”
She slowly crawled out of the cave of blankets. She seemed to be in deep thought for a few moments then glanced up at her dad, “Daddy, the little things make big shadows”.
Her father felt inspired from that night and wrote a song about those “little things”:
Five years old and alone at night
The silhouette from the street light
Make my nightmares come alive
On my bedroom wall
Pull the covers over my head
N’ think of all there is to dread
And the “what ifs” start to thread
Their fears in my mind
And the cries go out
And echo down the hall
To my Daddy’s room where he’d arise in the night
Come lay his hand on my head and say.
Little things can make big shadows
You just hold on to my promise and time will show
These fears that seem so tall and strong
Will run scattered at the sight of dawn
In the morning they will fade
Don’t be afraid
Thirty eight and all grown
Got a family of my own
You’d think by now that I would know
From all I’ve been through
But late night I lay awake
Wondering about tomorrow’s fate
Questions of which path to take
The future seems unclear
And the prayers go out
Into the cold night
Though my daddy’s gone
Now my Father in heaven
Comes rushing right to me
Rests his hand on my head and says,
Little things can make big shadows
You just hold on to my promise and time will show
These fears that seem so tall and strong
Will run scattered at the sight of dawn
In the morning they will fade
Don’t be afraid
When teddy bears turn to Grizzlies
When doubt is bigger than life
It always comes down to this
Its just light and darkness
Its just light and darkness
Curtains move to a gentle breeze
Like angel wings brushing me
Sleepy eyes awaken to see
The sunlight in my room
My childhood always appeared to be a normal one. Until I got older, then realized I might have been raised a little differently. I can’t pick out any specific reason why, but the bond between my sisters and I was just stronger than most. Watching childhood home videos I recognized the recurring pattern of the setting. My mom would be filming the newest addition to the family, usually not the most entertaining part, while the older ones would be running back and forth begging for attention. My dad would always be home. His most common spot would be dozing off on the couch, but regardless, he was there.
One home video, its 7:30am and my dad is filming. He whispers to the camera, “I’ve always wanted to do this” as he cracks open my sister’s bedroom door. He scans the room, my sister is sleeping in her bed and my other sister and I are curled up on the ground under a mound of blankets. We groggily wake up as he slowly pulls open the blinds.
“Good morning girls.”
I’ve seen other father daughter relationships, and they are all close in their own way, but the one my dad has built with us goes deeper. We are his treasures. Not a day goes by where he doesn’t embrace us, kiss us, or tell us he loves us. The affection shown to us as children seemed common, but as adults, he is a listening ear, quick to take our side, and always there to comfort. When I have a broken heart, I call my dad.
I found his demo cd from years back. The familiar songs filled the air and I sang along. However, one of the songs came on that I had known for years, but the lyrics took on a whole different meaning to me then.
Our house stands against the wind and rain
Stays together when the seasons change.
It’s big enough when the world’s closing in,
It’s strong and safe when the world’s too big.
If that was my dad’s goal, then I believed he accomplished that in his daughters. The stories from my father’s childhood were a nightly ritual for my sisters and I; he used those to build this foundation. They were something we could not go to sleep without hearing. Whether we were five or fifteen, we had to be tucked in. I was visiting my family a few weekends ago, and as I was getting ready for bed I heard my little sister, who is not so little anymore, yell down the hallway, “Dad, can you come say good night to me?” Though it wasn’t the precious little voice of a child, it was still the longing of a daughter for her father’s kiss. I listened from the other room as my dad came into her bedroom and knelt down by her bedside. He asked about her day as he rubbed her head, then before he said good night, he held her hand and prayed. I smiled and wiped the tears from my eyes. As you grow up, you forget the little things that helped grow you into who you are. I don’t know where my sisters stand, but I am and will always be a daddy’s girl. His childhood stories are apart of me, just like his music is always playing in my mind.
"John 13:35 reminds us, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” This includes loving one another enough to speak the truth. It means loving one another enough to ask hard questions, to be picky about the details and to take care that our words and actions are truly Christian. As Stanley Hauerwas has reminded us, living as a Christian requires learning a language that encompasses what we say and what we do.
We may not be of one mind, but we can be of one heart. If we hold our love for Christ in common, God has given us all the time we need to work out our differences and disagreements. In those difficult moments, we must trust that, though we can’t see it, God’s Kingdom is bigger than our corner.” Ben Simpson.
Its nice knowing there are people out there who I agree with.
Today I changed my minor. It might not be a huge thing for others but for me it got me focused, once again. Seeing three more semesters written down is a feeling of accomplishment. It makes me want to push through and finish. And now that I have a more exciting minor, something that I can actually apply to my future, I feel at peace. I know that feeling wont last for long, but for now, I will rest in it.
Hero: Yes, My Dad.
A young farm boy gave me life. He planted a small seed in the fruitful valley of Morristown, Tennessee. This farm boy had life and energy. His dreams for his future reached higher than the heavens. And planting that seed on top of the hill was only the start to his adventure. I grew as he grew. A fragile trunk with a few branches that got tossed in the wind at first, but soon I was sturdy enough to be on my own. The farm boy became my only friend, for he planted me all by my lonesome on a grassy knoll. Sometimes I thought he did it on purpose, to keep me all to himself. Soon the farm boy was not a boy anymore; he had grown into a man. That man soon had a wife who soon had a child. After sometime, I noticed a red farmhouse being built just yonder. I felt happy for my farm boy. I liked to watch him run with his little boy up to my hill, and watch him swirl his wife around and kiss her. Some days when they seemed too busy to drop by and say hello I would just watch the world around me.
From my spot on the hill I could see for a quite a ways. The small city stretched out below me on my right. It started with a few shops and restaurants and a gas station then turned into more farmland and more white picket fences. To my left there was a dirt road that forked either into the city or out in the country, depending on which way you decided to go. I discovered that I enjoyed watching cars lay idle at the stop sign for small amounts of time and I could only imagine what the driver was pondering. Left or right, which way to go…Eventually they would make their decision. Some would end up changing their minds and I would see them only a few minutes later back tracking, others however seemed quite happy with their choice.
When the days are long I find myself feeling nostalgic. Remembering the farm boy’s younger years bring life to my day. He had an adventurous spirit and was full of imagination. During my early days of life the farm boy would come by frequently and water me. Once I was large enough to offer shade he would sit by me just to pass the time. Sometimes he would bring a book, sometimes he would bring paper and write for hours. On occasion he would just sit and think, that would often lead to sleeping though. I knew I was special to him, a place of solitude and peace. He worried me for sometime during his younger days. I awoke one morning to him pounding the dirt around my base and in between sobs crying out, “Why?! Why him?! It wasn’t his time yet…” These emotions were new to me. I had never seen him hurt and mourn. I had the urge to comfort him. My branch reached down and caressed his back. There, there my friend…
I understood as time went by that he had lost his father. In many ways I looked to him as my father, the one who gave me life. I could not imagine ever losing him, I mourned as he mourned. His pain was my pain. I wanted to see life again in his eyes!
The seasons changed. Heat overtook the town upon which I watched. Children ran throughout the hills often in search for hidden pools of water to relieve them from the stale humidity. I brought shade to many couples out on their summer adventures which usually included picnics that turned into late night star gazing. The farm boy visited less and less. My leaves began to change colors, the children went back to school, the couples got lost in the routine of life, and the farm boy got tossed into the world. My leaves became lifeless and I watched them one by one let go of my branches and let the wind take them away. This season always hurt me. My branches were bare and lonely. I would spend my days looking below me at the leaves that were once a part of me now seeming lost and unsure of what to do. Oh how I wanted to scoop them all back up into my branches and show them I’m still here and I still care! But just as soon as they left they were back. Spring was here once again, the season that I longed for every year. Birds from everywhere decided that they loved my branches and that’s where they wanted to raise their little ones. Melodies were whistled everyday as they fluttered around me filling me with hay, grass, sticks, anything they could find to be a home for their new lives.
Then one spring afternoon the farm boy was back, just like that. He couldn’t stop smiling as he sat at my base strumming his guitar and singing a beautiful melody. Happiness ran through my trunk and across my branches and they moved musically to the rhythm of his tune. Just like the new leaves that were beginning to blossom on my branches the farm boy seemed to be transforming into the new season in his life. The next time I saw him he was with a young woman. I noticed the life in her eyes too. The songs he sang and notes he strummed were no longer played for my ears only; she sat beside him and melodically hummed along. He had brought her to his special place. He was now among those couples who could only see the person they were with, everything else faded into the background.
He came around much more often now that he was in love. Though even through his love struck eyes I occasionally saw the hurt from before arise. I did not know where he had disappeared to during that season in his life and it hurt me to think of the pain that still might be deep within him. If only he knew how much I longed to take it away. He could easy let it go into the wind and my branches would carry it high above his reach. He hid it well though, for when he was with his lady I loved to listen to him laugh and watch him pour out all the love he had kept inside for too long.
Soon there were people hanging lanterns from my branches, setting up rows of chairs, and sprinkling white rose petals underneath my shade. I saw the farm boy, for once not dressed in torn up denim and flannel shirt but rather a sharp black tuxedo, standing near my trunk smiling as the girl in white came towards him and the people stood. The wind picked up and my leaves shuttered together applauding for the happy couple.
These days quickly became the ones I looked forward to each night. It seemed like the world was brighter because of my farm boy’s new found joy. I noticed more people out in my hills and under my shade. The town became more alive and busy with more houses going up and children seemed to pop out of nowhere. The one other change I saw was that there were less and less cars sitting idle at the fork in the road every day. It seemed to me that people had made up their minds and knew where they wanted to go. No longer where they turning back and changing their decision either. I liked this new season.
A squirrel darted up my trunk one morning, jolting me awake. He fluttered from branch to branch causing me to fall in to a fit of laughter from the tickling. My trunk rumbled and my branches shivered, knocking the poor little guy right off. I cringed with empathy for him as he thumped to the ground. I heard human laughter and I glanced up, my farm boy and his pretty girl were walking up my hill hand in hand. I heard him say, “Poor little squirrel!” and then he tossed him some peanuts from their picnic basket. Seeing my farm boy made me quickly forget about my cruel behavior towards the squirrel. They spread out their checkered blanket and began to eat their food. I noticed the girl’s stomach was larger than usual and more round under her dress. The farm boy kept touching it and smiling then he would get real close and press his ear up against it. I enjoyed watching the farm boy interact with the new life that was a part of him, still in his wife’s womb. I knew the farm boy was going to love his child how a father was supposed to. The farm boy and his girl brought their new baby to meet me one morning. They sat under my dream rocking their precious baby and humming glorious lullabies. The farm boy shared a passionate kiss with his wife, expressing how happy he was. He then glanced up at me and though it was only a few seconds I saw a soft smile envelope his face and I felt the admiration and love pour from his eyes. The wind circled around my branches and one extended far enough to graze over my family and reiterate that love between us. That was the day I felt most alive. I understood how much joy the farm boy brought to my life and I could only hope that I did the same for him.
The next few years however, were the most delightful years! Watching the farm boy’s son grow and become just like his father was pure happiness! The farm boy’s son was a peculiar little boy. I would watch him wandering the hills along the same repetitive path for hours. He would carry one of my broken tree branches and use it as a walking stick or something to torture small bugs with. Mumbling words to himself he would being to act out battle scenes and his imagination would run wild. When his legs would go too fast for his little body he would begin to tumble down the hill, that’s when I, with the help of the wind, would stretch out my branch and gently slow his little body down. His dazed eyes would look up at me curiously then with a small smile creeping across his face he would holler a battle cry and swing from my branch.
I started to feel as though I understood life, the purpose to it, the reason for it, and how people live it. I still did not understand the hurt that comes along with it though. My lifelong desire was to watch my farm boy grow and love. Often times I felt like I was his protector. Sometime I was his confidant. Other times I was a place for the release his anger. One day though, I let him down.
The farm boy’s son was growing up too fast, I noticed the change in him and I believe his parents did too. It was odd for me to see the little boy that I loved changing into a boy with lifeless eyes and pain inside his heart. He would sit under my tree just like his father did but the feelings that poured from him were not similar to his fathers. It hurt to watch my family change and feel helpless. Their comings and goings increased to where it went months that I only saw them in passing. I could hear their arguments from the house all the way on top of my hill.
It was going to be a cool day. I slowly awoke and felt the chillness of the air in my trunk and the ice lingering on my leaves. I felt heavy. The weight of something burdened me and also caused me pain. I felt the world moving around me in slow motion as I saw the image of death hanging from my branch. I shook violently trying to rid the lifeless body from its grasp on me. I cried out in desperation and I felt my roots shutter in anguish. The young boy was not even a man yet, and to make a decision to end his life seemed unfathomable. The screams from the house echoed throughout the town. I hated watching my farm boy and his wife charge at me with such force I felt threatened. They fell at my trunk and once again I felt the pounding of desperate fists beg the earth “why?!”
Since that day I believe I changed in the farm boy’s eyes. I was no longer that place of solitude and peace, I did not represent the good years of his life anymore, I was dark and I was pain. I became a lonely tree. They buried their son beside my roots. His hurts from the world grew into me and we were one. Without love I was nothing.
Just as the seasons change, the sun rises, the wind blows, my leaves change their colors, and the hope of new life is always just a season away.
"We are as clouds that veil the midnight moon;
How restlessly they speed, and gleam, and quiver,
Streaking the darkness radiantly! Yet soon
Night closes round, and they are lost for ever:
Or like forgotten lyres, whose dissonant strings
Give various response to each varying blast,
To whose frail frame no second motion brings
One mood or modulation like the last.
We rest- A dream has power to poison sleep;
We rise- One wandering thought pollutes the day;
We feel, conceive or reason, laugh or weep;
Embrace fond woe, or cast our cares away:
It is the same! For, be it joy or sorrow,
The path of its departure still is free:
Man’s yesterday may ne’er be like his morrow;
Nought may endure but Mutability.
-1816, Percy Shelley
If home is where your heart is, then I have many homes. San Diego was once my home then. Every time I would drive back to Arizona, it felt as though half of my heart was staying there. I knew it wasn’t home, it was only a typical summer romance that had potential for something greater; an epic love story. That’s what the romantics say. A six-hour drive through the desert, with no air conditioning, proved love. Hearing my engine huff and puff up the escalading terrain outside of the coastal city was a reflection of my anxious heart ready for adventure. Within minutes the dry Arizona air was soon balmy, breezy, salt-kissed air. Nothing about me fit in with San Diego. Whether it was the fly-aways and tangled knots in my wavy brown hair or my pale skin, I felt like an outsider. It could have been the bronzed blondes that flocked to the beach that also made me feel a bit out of place.
Of course, any romance that takes place in a beach city is perfect….looking. They start off with midnight adventures walking along the coast, running from the attacking waves, and cuddling on lifeguard houses. The first night I got there, he took me to the ocean to watch the “bioluminescence”, or how the waves became florescent green right before they crashed on the shore because of the fish. This captured my amazement. The beauty in the ocean continued to surprise and excite me. The waves inched closer and soon he shouted and Tarzan-like rescued me from becoming the ocean’s prey. We found refuge in an empty lifeguard house that was the duplicate to hundreds lined up along the shore. The breeze blew around me, but didn’t help dry the humidity. That night was the entrance into my love-hate relationship with San Diego.
The desire to constantly go back grew. The powerful romantic feelings overruled the seemingly miniscule annoyances that related to San Diego one way or another. However, who could complain when the beach is always ten minutes away? Maybe it’s because the three hours I spent there I got the worst burn in my life, which resulted in lying on my stomach with coats of Aloe Vera layering my skin. But the sun was bright and that didn’t stop me from playing Frisbee in the waves, or rather throwing him the Frisbee and watching him dive into the waves. My peach colored polka-dot bikini also helped to provide the ultimate beach day experience. The rest of that trip though, was spent in the shade.
Riding in the back seat of a roofless jeep also fell into the love-hate category. The wind blowing in your hair as you drive along the boardwalk watching roller-bladers and tandem-riders glide by is pictured to be a classic San Diego experience. My experience: the more wind blown my hair became, the more hours I had to spend brushing it out and conditioning. My lips were constantly chapped but if I put anything on them it just meant my wispy hair found another place to cling to. The noise of the traffic was drowned out by the blasting scream-o music that the driver preferred, but only resulted in giving me a headache and a bad mood. And the lovely scenery of the beach-goers was soon interrupted by the elderly man who decided to yell at the driver of the jeep for not stopping at the crosswalk. Exiting that jeep fell into the love side of San Diego.
Then there are the romantic date night adventures and all the city has to offer. Along the pier is a rustic bar that has karaoke. Small and cramped, the middle-aged men and women drank and sang, with a few dance moves thrown in. Entertaining nightlife, of course. But the little moments together, in hopes of escaping the smoky air, found us outside on a wooden bench. The balmy air was working in my favor that night and the sun had kissed my cheeks perfectly. Wrapped up in his oversize navy blue sweatshirt was nothing compared to being wrapped in his arms. The night we decided to see how long this long-distance, epic romance would last. A tear escaped my eyes, but I pushed the fear away. The warning sign now obvious, his fear was louder than mine.
The end of all love stories has fireworks. But for the non-fairly tale ones, the fireworks come first and the tears follow. Fourth of July in San Diego. Many images come to mind, maybe a party on a boat overlooking the ocean as the fireworks explode overhead, maybe lying in the sand, or maybe even a party in the city. How did I end up sitting on a slopping hill, in the dirt, watching fireworks from afar? Not my idea of a Fourth of July in San Diego, but at that time it was more about who I was sharing that moment with, then wondering if I was sitting on an anthill.
Is it the need to remember the things I hated about San Diego, so I can continue hating it, or the heartache that causes the bitterness that results in the hate? Driving through downtown San Diego brought hope into my heart. I saw the little coffee shops with the apartments above. I thought of my life there, everything I was willing to give up. The road through downtown led to the airport. This is where the love-hate becomes the strongest. He let his truck idle in the unloading area, just enough time to hop out and hand me my suitcase. I looked up at him, into his eyes that I didn’t want to leave. A soft smile, a kiss on the head, and an “I love you”, and he was gone. For good. As I boarded the plane, letting the tears flow, I said goodbye to San Diego. Did I know that would be my last time visiting? It looked so serene from the air. Smaller, smaller, smaller. The clouds blended over the city, over the coast, over the memories. San Diego is still there, but it’s memory is hazy.