The final leg of the journey home. March 19, 2020
My direct flight, from Washington DC to San Francisco, was without event. I often had views of the ground, and on approaching the Sierra Nevadas, I could see that the snow was fresh from the night before. Lots of clouds, puffy and white, broken by sun, lay beneath. I knew that the scheduled bus service was closed, but Lindsey was able to confirm that UBERs were running. It only took a minute to load the ap and confirm a car. I had a great driver, with a beautiful car. He was so sweet. He asked which way I wanted to go, Oakland Bay or Golden Gate. I left it up to him and he chose Golden Gate. It was a beautiful day. I had not been that way since before the re-construction of 19th street. All was charming and traffic was light. I asked him to stop at the view point, to look back on the bridge and the city.
Everything was so green and there were lots of flowers everywhere. I had felt that Morocco was so similar to California, but did not feel that way today. As we passed through Sonoma County, only a few vines were budding out. I saw an open fruit stand, then an open deli, “Angelo’s”. I remembered folks at home telling me the stores had nothing, no meat or vegetables. I was thinking, perhaps I should stop. Then, I thought, perhaps it is just the big stores having trouble. I called Browns Valley Market, and indeed, the meat counter worker told me they have everything. I diverted the driver and made a quick stop. Yes, I kept my distance, but if I was going to be in for 14 days, I needed some food.
Along the way, I made a few texts and calls, trying to start the process of letting people know I was home.
When I got home, I found that my friends had left me well stocked before they left. My neighbors also left me a note with a number for a market that would deliver, and strict instructions not to leave my house. This had been my plan in any event. I would be fine, lonely, but well fed. I arrived sometime after 3:00. I forgot to look. More calls, mostly answering incoming, as I wandered around, inside and out, hoping to start feeling as though I belonged. The lemon tree was loaded with coloring fruit, the orange tree thick with fragrant blossoms. Everything was so green. No buds popping on the vines here. The sun was shining. I sat outside, looking down the driveway from the rose garden, as I ate a chicken salad. As I was eating, the DHL driver arrived with the box I sent from Fes.
It is very strange to be home. My friends that had been living in the house did a beautiful job of cleaning and leaving the house in good order. I felt terrible they had to leave under such circumstances. They asked if they could keep my cat. Also, sad, but for the best. I knew that Meiko would be much happier with them.
I BBQd a steak and enjoyed a little wine, two things I could not do in Morocco. I steamed artichokes and sautéed fresh mushrooms in butter. For my first wine on American soil, I went to the cellar and selected a wonderful wine, a delicious favorite, with sentimental ties. A 2007 Chestnut Cellars Syrah, made by my friend, Danyal Kasapligil, from Mellowood grapes. Danyal was my Peace Corps mentor, serving in Tunisia in his youth.
I did not have a TV in Morocco, so was looking forward to that. However, when I turned on the set, here was Governor Newsom. The disease does not frighten me, but the measures he is putting in play (for our “safety”) do. More on that another day. For now, I am home, safe, and facing this situation-turned crisis, with my neighborhood, family, friends and country.