Monday, September 24, 2012
If things had worked out as I'd hoped, life would be very different right now. Perhaps it's me getting older, but I learned to see the silver linings in life. One more year in my beautiful home state and time to do things like drive from San Luis Obispo (more accurately, Cayucos) to Monterey via Highway 1. Lots of winding roads and spectacular vistas that can't be beat.
Perhaps this is the turnout I needed? Clearly, 2012 has had its share of heartache. I didn't move off a waitlist and my dog has a likely-malignant tumor. Yet, there have been plenty moments of joy. An incredible spring of travel, a fun birthday, fantastic classes/grades (that's right... woot!), and said dog is still happy and hammy. Life won't be perfect, but I've learned to note the bright points and spend less time dwelling on the lows.
In Big Sur, we stopped at Nepenthe. The place is a bit pricey and the food isn't groundbreaking haute cuisine, but our appetizers were fabulous. Perfect fries and a roasted garlic/goat cheese/toasted baguette platter were perfect with a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and a view of the ocean.
Life is good.
And on our last day, a couple of things happened that made me believe that the universe might have been telling me something. No, I'm not in medical school. However, because I'm here in California, I had the opportunity to see the space shuttle Endeavour take a ride around the state before settling in its final resting spot in Los Angeles.
We stood on the expansive decks of the Monterey Plaza and Spa as a speck appeared in the fog bank ahead. For the longest time, it looked like it was heading straight for us, then angled up and flew right overhead.
I'm a scientist, a science-fiction fan, and major geek. Medical school is my goal, but my fantasy is (well, was) the space program. Nevermind that I'm claustrophobic and probably unlikely to do well with heavy G-forces. This was a moment to remember and damn if I didn't get a little teary-eyed. Adios, Endeavour... thanks for capturing my imagination one more time.
Later, we drove up to the Bay Area for our flight home. Flying out of Oakland meant we had a few hours hanging out in Dan's hometown. His parents just left the area, so for the first time, he had no roots there. We went to Lake Chabot for a walk and, at the same time, a woman arrived with a puppy. The dog looked like a pointer mix and had the same cinnamon-brown and white coloring as Bear. As Bear has bright amber eyes that were always a little unusual, this dog had bright blue ones. Like Bear, he insisted on saying hi to everyone he passed (including us) and he was a whole-body, lean-into-you snuggler. When a pitbull on a run passed by, he barked and barked and barked, not unlike Bear who never liked dogs bigger than him. He pulled on his leash and sniffed everything, dragging his harried owner around and reminding me of my first days with Bear.
Bear spent his puppyhood on the same trails and it was like meeting young Bear one more time. Maybe I'm making something out of nothing, but it was a nice reminder to enjoy being with the old man and perhaps life is a little more circular than we realize.
I'm a strong believer in things happening for a reason. Maybe life doesn't go exactly as we hope, but there's always a silver lining.