13th October 2013 12 noon (pst.)
Within two miles of the Pacific rounding
this long bay, sheening the light for miles
inland, floating its fog through redwood rifts and over
strawberry and artichoke fields, its bottomless mind
returning always to the same rocks, the same cliff, with
ever-changing words, always the same language
— this is where I live now.
I left on day onehundred-and-five. Dad drove me to Heathrow and I recognised the Terminal 3 car park. I said, I don't know why I do this to myself, and he said, Well, and gave me a book of Californian poems.
I lived my whole summer to fall into an American autumn. When I first arrived, California smelt of cedar wood and olives, and the light fell in straight bright shafts through the pine forest as we followed the road up the mountain. Crickets hiccuped in the dusk and when I woke at 5am, before the sun had started its scorching ascent, the bullfrogs under my window gasped and belched while I wonder whether to check Facebook. The New York Times arrived on the table on Sunday morning. From Marin County I moved to the Sacramento Valley, where my apartment marks the edge of town and the dusty fields shimmer in the heat while I wait for the P line each morning. The sun sets over the mountains in the west, the city streets heave with bicycles, and last week I was offered a job as a photojournalist for the university newspaper.
I left a month ago today. I have explored San Franciscan streets and I have looked down on the deep blue Lake Tahoe and I have stood in a copse of flaming Aspen trees up high in the mountains near Nevada. Those stories are coming soon, in my film diary and my photographs. Here, though, is the hinge: the start of a new season, a new chapter, a new portrait. A small town in a new country - this is where I live now. This is where I am building my home.
(words are an extract from Adrienne Rich's 'An Atlas of the Difficult World')