I’m here in California, possessed of a most Californian day spent at wineries and movie theatres. Verdict: Estate syrahs are good, Georgia Rule is bad.

Everything is already dry and golden and rounding the corner into harvest-time here. I had forgotten that, or rather, my bones had forgotten it. My internal calendar is firmly set on frightened new greens and the last of the snow, and has forgotten what it was like to live in the desert. How did that happen?

I feel bizarrely out of sync, not myself, trying to remember who I was when I lived here. So much has changed in my life, and now the West Coast is “out there,” and home is…well, I don’t really know. But I’ve re-oriented; my compass points east.

My dog is here, too, the one we’ve had since I was 14. He’s a tiny red Pomeranian, and he’s old and cranky and deaf. But he wants to be next to me all the time, even though he’s usually pretty standoffish. He slept in my suitcase last night, since he couldn’t get up onto the bed. I hope he’ll be here by the next visit, but he’s 13.

I’m thoughtful tonight–and clearly somewhat disjointed. I’ve been mostly offline, which leads to that disconnected feeling–so much of my Whedon-style family is connected through these tubes, and I’m out here in the gold, burying my ashes. That whole phoenix thing isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be, you know. Even after you burn, everyone expects you to be more or less the same bird, and if you’re not careful, you can spend years trying to be.

But the smell of the sea-air out here…god, I remember that. Like the smell of the house you grew up in. So familiar, and undescribable. I used to drive five hours from Sacramento to the ocean, to open ocean at Ft. Bragg, in my old, cracked up 1973 Bug, with sandwiches and beer in the cooler and a sleeping friend in the backseat, just to watch the sun come up. Where did that bird go?

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