Drinking it in before we leave

It’s spring, and we’re leaving soon. It’s becoming real, and my brain is responding by cranking up the volume on the San Francisco’s sounds, sights, and (for better or worse) smells. 

Oft-passed corners on my regular walking routes aren’t routine anymore – they’re alive. Brightly-colored, tightly-packed houses transform into pastel street mosaics, succulent gardens overflow with textures and life, jasmine trees slap me across the face with sweet vapor when I least expect it. Downtown: the odor of piss, the sight of tall buildings. The feeling of concrete underfoot. Steam rising from manholes. Clouds of marijuana dancing with tobacco. 

Saying goodbye to a home usually consists of rushing to pack, shedding a quick tear upon departure, and forever wishing that I could go back and bathe in it. But this time? I’m not leaving before I’ve collected a lifetime’s worth of sensations. 

I’m drinking it. Greedy. Heavy and deep. Tasting, touching, sniffing, lying in grass, waving at people, feeling the California sun as if I’ve never felt it before.