Monday, July 23, 2007

Things that make you go ...

Okay, I have to come clean. There was a little bit of time for a couple quick sketches up at Tahoe. You think to yourself, “I knew it! Sneaky bugger!”
But, really, we were exploring enough of the time that I didn’t feel like pulling out my whole set of paints. I would’ve gotten attacked by the chipmunks, ravens, or ants, had I actually sat around long enough to paint, as it was.

At the campsite, watching the big ants.

It wasn't hard to find a gnarly tree up in Tahoe.

I was reminded of something as we drove along the lakeshore to CampRich during our second trip. I’d mentioned that a friend said that everyone that she knows that’s visited Lake Tahoe has vowed, including herself, that they have to find a way to move there. It’s not hard to imagine everyone falling in love with the place.

But as we were driving along, I just felt like I was home.
In Hawaii.

And then it finally hit me: It was so much like home.

I grew up commuting along long stretches of the ocean, with the water off my right shoulder, the shallow bay at Heeia with row boats tied off, long solitary piers stretching a few hundred feet in. The road curves, winding back and forth, and there’s a little bit different view of the water at each turn; all part of the whole, yet each a separate, spectacular gem. You think, “Ooooo”. The grass grows tall, and there are pine trees and lush groves to drive through. There are produce stands along the way, art galleries, ice cream (shave ice) shacks, a recreational park, a house here, here, dotting the road. But mostly there’s that wide, shallow bay, with gentle lapping waves. Driving along Lake Tahoe was remarkably, surprisingly like driving along Kamehameha Hwy, home to Kahaluu, Waiahole. Driving up past Camp Richardson was like driving along further, through Kaaawa, the North Shore.

I blinked with that realization; It was beyond even just déjà vu.

(or: 'Oh. Chicken Skin')

Now, certainly, I’ve spent plenty of time driving along Pacific Coast Hwy, too, through Malibu, with the same Pacific Ocean off the passenger-side window, and homes off to my left. Sure. But the waves are big, the beach yellow, the houses really humongous, and the scenes off in the distant are rendered in those dusty pastel hues of Southern California. And there are sandy beaches in Hawaii with big waves, big houses, too.

But where I grew up, there’s a mellow bay that’s calm and quiet, where the canoe groups paddle, and the view of the ocean is endless, looking out into the sunrise. And that’s what makes me feel most of home.

Well, besides all those yummilicious scenes from ‘Lost’ and Bellows Beach.

So, it finally struck me how similar our drives from South Lake Tahoe, up along the west side to Emerald Bay, Camp Richardson, Tahoe City were to all those drives home, in Hawaii.
I sat up and went, “Oh”. And the blues and greens are just so vivid, like they are in Hawaii; it’s amazing. Nothing subdued and pastel. It’ll wake your eyes up, that’s for sure.

So, yeah, it’s nice, beautiful and relaxing. And, um, yeah, I’m sure the white of winter is pretty, uh ... cold. But there’s something that’s very much like home there that tugs very hard at my heartstrings.

[typing. typing. typing.]

Oh wow. And I just remembered this:

While we were in Hawaii over Christmas, we visited the Art Walk that is held at the Zoo over the weekends. Nothing really caught our attention, actually, except there was one small painting that I lingered over… for quite a while. It was a painting of Diamond Head and the beach, in profile. You can imagine; you’ve seen it a gazillion times. But this wasn’t rendered in the Hawaiian blues and greens that you’d expect. It was depicted, as if in a dream, in steely blue greys, in the snow, surrounded by forests of pine trees, with a cabin in the foreground, the smoke from a fireplace curling upwards. It’s as if Diamond Head crater had been magically transported to some high Sierra range over this’a way, in the middle of a snowy winter.
I remember being drawn strongly to that painting, thinking it was something I probably wouldn’t see again. No, I didn’t buy it, but the image stays with me, as I suspected it would. The scene was very incongruous, for sure, and yet in my mind, it was actually pleasing. I recall that it made a good deal of sense, in a very reassuring sort of way.


So. Are you going to move?
We hope to. If a trip back in the winter doesn’t faze us.

Not for a while…
Not for a while.

Can’t you imagine us there?


Karen Winters said...

Eerie how two places so far apart have a connection! But places clearly can cast a spell over us. I'm going to guess that the call is even stronger now, since you are farther away from the water than ever, probably.

How wonderful to find a place that feels like home, so far from home. Do visit in winter, though, it probably is radically different.

Plain Jane said...

hmm. Lake Tahoe. Gorgeous photos of a gorgeous place. That marsh area is lovely, I've never seen that either. Moving to Tahoe. Hmm. Have you ever lived in the snow? I haven't, don't know if I could, but I DO know what it's like to feel HOME in a place and feel right about living there. exciting. Love your photos too!

Wendee said...

Yes, winter. I spent four years living just along the lake just north of Chicago. Does that count? Boy, that's gotta count for something. You just have to wrap yourself in a whole buncha' purple, as I seem to recall....

Toni said...

Hi Wendy,

Well after a long break I am getting caught up reading blogs. Your trip to Tahoe sure sounded like it was calling you. You may find the winters there enjoyable. Go with and open mind. I enjoy the snow when it comes where I live. It is magical but towards end of winter I am glad to see it go.