The flurry of impassioned emails began once the committee published it's plans for our 50th High School Reunion. Clearly the emotions are from deeper wells than suggested changes in venues and scheduling. If nothing else, this ongoing conversation showcases the personalities we knew so well 50 years ago.
Beyond that I am reminded of a passage from Exile's Return by Malcolm Cowley adapted to evoke the aromatic eucalyptus and jasmines that permeate our beautiful Central Coast Community.
Somewhere the turn of a dirt road or the unexpected crest of a hill reveals your own childhood, the fields where you once played barefoot, the kindly trees, the landscape by which all others are measured and condemned. . . This is your home . . . but does it exist outside of your memory? On reaching the hilltop or the bend of the road, will you find the people gone, the landscape altered, the [eucalyptus trees & jasmines] cut down and only stumps, dried tree-tops, branches and fireweed where the woods had been? Or, if the country remains the same, will you find yourself so changed and uprooted that it refuses to take you back, to reincorporate you into its common life? No matter: the country of our childhood survives, if only in our minds, and retains our loyalty even when casting us into exile; we carry its image from city to city as our most essential baggage:
Wanderers outside the gates, in hollow
landscapes without memory, we carry
each of us an urn of native soil,
of not impalpable dust a double handful
anciently gathered--was it garden mold
or wood soil fresh with [eucalyptus leaves &
jasmine blooms] this little earth we bore
in silence, blindly, over the frontier?
--a parcel of the soil not wide enough
or firm enough to build a dwelling on,
or deep enough to dig a grave, but cool
and sweet enough to sink the nostrils in
and find the smell of home, or in the ears,
rumors of home, like oceans in a shell.