Bay Dreams

I thought I’d only stay in California for a handful of days. Well I’ve been here a week and I’m still groovin’ heavy on some Bay Area vibes. This has been primarily due to the serendipitous  convergence of many dear friends in one glorious place. Two nights ago I sat around a table at 25th and Folsom St. with 7 of my closest buddies from university . We’ve all journeyed along our separate paths since college but from the depths of Chicago, Eugene, Portland and San Francisco we found ourselves in the same city at the same time with a fresh rack of antelope and a feast of veggies. I 100% did not partake in any antelope consumption but I was filled with ecstatic joy when I looked around at all of their faces over a bowl of curried lentils. After a sleepover and giant croissant from Tartine in the morning with the crew, I felt invigorated.

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Dinner with best buds

You see, the night prior I had consumed 3 whiskeys after 4 months without any alcohol and was plagued with a hangover from the flames of hell. I somehow managed to drag myself to a tattoo appointment where I received a very large Sri Yantra along my arm. It was an interesting experience. The tattoo is beautiful. And I got it for free. There were some issues  with the line work and the artist didn’t charge me which was very kind. But I will have to do some touch up work back in Portland after it heals. Overall, I am stoked.

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Making of the Sri Yantra

Anyways, making dinner with old friends is most beautiful hangover cure I can think of.  I will be off the sauce again for some time.

My joy has just continued to increase exponentially. Yesterday I took an epic hike in Marin’s Deer Park with a former philosophy comrade and was completely amazed by the biodiversity along the trail. White birches and twisting oaks sprinkled the blonde, grassy plains one moment and the next we’d enter a mossy emerald patch of oldgrowth redwoods.

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The rolling, Marin hills

My home base has been at Jocelyn’s and she’s been a very gracious hostess to the point of humoring my trail obsession. The other night we took a sunset hike to Grizzly Peak and it was perhaps THE MOST MAGICAL HIKE OF MY LIFE. The bay fog settled below the peak and as the sun slid down the entire sky transformed to pink mist. We found a makeshift teeter totter overlooking the hills, hung out on it for sunset and when we headed back to the Datsun, waves of cold, white fog and eucalyptus washed over the hill.

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Sunset at Grizzly Peak

The whole bay area smells sweet like the fecund, summer ocean and rosemary and bay leaves and cedar. I’m mesmerized.

Full disclosure, Oakland has a pretty distinct, unpleasant smell but Oakland’s cool, whatever.

My level of enjoyment is so heavy and so right. Tomorrow I head to the sea for the afternoon. Monday I’ve picked up an odd job in the city and will meet Grace, a soul mate since high school, for dinner.

Thus, I’m not really sure when I will leave the Bay. For now I’m just going to keep vibing. More updates soon-ish.

Mil Besos,

Elissa

P.S. I got a new tarot deck. Herbal remedies divined through tarot coming soon.

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The Herbal Tarot

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Updates: Condensed Version

I’ve made a discovery. The more time I spend hiking, the less I want to write. Or perhaps I just have less content to unpack. I can only say so much about the beauty of a wave folding into the shore or the stillness of a fern. It definitely exists but is honestly better seen than read and I wish that I could share it with you. Really. Hiking alone is incredibly meditative but at this point in my journey I’m welcoming companions. This longing for company is well-timed since I arrived in Oakland 2 nights ago and have spent a fantastic chunk of my stay with Jocelyn, one of my dearest. We’ve read tarot, burned juniper, picnicked at the park and snuggled her kitten Boris.

Upon arrival, I immediately took a trip to Eli’s Mile High Club, my favorite Oakland punk bar where Jocelyn recently got a tattoo. When I heard news that they had a  ink operation upstairs I had to go. More on that later.

Anyways, this afternoon I am headed back to Oakland from Point Reyes. The sea is very gentle in Point Reyes and I slept peacefully there, woke up, took a 5-mile loop along the coast, meditated on a sand dune and ate a tailgate lunch in the sun.

Now I am stopped in Marin for a coffee and, after a few frantic messages from my mother, figured that I’m overdue for an update.

I am alive. I am in the Bay Area and will be here for another week. Here are some highlights from the past week:

– I got in to my car in Bend and realized my brother had washed and waxed my truck, filled its tires with air and its tank with gas.  He didn’t even mention it. That’s a humble dude.

– Tomato, pepper soup expertly prepared by Andrew, an old friend from high school. I hadn’t talked to him in years and was lucky enough to stop by his Klamath Falls home for an excellent dinner and late-night campfire session. I met his wife, brand-new baby Katie and ate a chocolate croissant at Green Blade Bakery per his recommendation at sunrise. All of this was very beautiful to me.

– A gang of old motorcyclists in Crater Lake who really dug my Datsun. Also, the pure joy of eating an orange on a cliff overlooking the blue, blue Crater Lake.

– A moonlit walk along The Coastal Trail at Point Reyes. I was alone and could hear the rustle of elk in the trees, snakes in grass and the shrill song of crickets everywhere. The moon was just full enough to light the path and, in the absence of clear eyesight, I could hear the subtle melodies of the forest.

– Pulling up to Jocelyn’s Victorian after an 8 hour commute along 101-S. I am happy I got to see the Northern California coast… a pack of elk, the golden hills, majestic cedars: it was all beautiful. But I confess, I was elated to find civilization and a hot shower.  Jocelyn’s greeting me in a velour track suit and UGG boots was the icing on the cake. It really sent the message: treat yo’ self and I did. I showered, feasted, and slept in a super comfy, clean bed. Home is where the friends are.

– This cup of coffee in front of me. I am at an art-nouveau inspired place in Marin called the Coffee Roastery and to the naked eye, it looks like your standard rich-hippie hangout. However, the Fairfax Coffee they serve is the best cup I’ve tasted on my journey so far. True, the majority of my coffee has been poured at gas stations but this roast is smoky, rich and provides a much-needed surge of life-blood for the remainder of my journey in to the city.

Here are a few travel photos:

Crater Lake

Crater Lake

Orange & Coffee overlooking Crater Lake

Orange & Coffee overlooking Crater Lake

 

Riley in Deschutes National Forest

Riley in Deschutes National Forest

The Moon over Hwy 101 S

The Moon over Hwy 101 S

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Succulents at Point Reyes Seashore

Tonight Jocelyn and I head to the purportedly haunted Burlington Hotel in Port Costa to hang at their dive bar and see what we can conjure.  More updates soon.

Love Infinity,

E.D.