I got home a week ago, yesterday.
I feel like I keep using this term, but the whole experience of returning to California has been so bittersweet, though currently in my mind, the first half of the word is italicized. Bittersweet. Bittersweet.
It’s difficult to hold myself back from constantly comparing everything to Oxford, and to the life I lived there. I was walking around a beautiful lake yesterday, and the whole time, all I could think about was how desert-y it was compared to Oxford. How the water wasn’t as natural as it was in Oxford. How the air wasn’t as refreshing as it was in Oxford.
Of course, the beauty of one creation shouldn’t detract from the beauty of another. While I know this theoretically, it’s more difficult than I would like to actually implement it in my thoughts. As I walked around the manmade pool last night, I mentally criticized the water. It was too turquoise. Probably synthetic. Blah blah not Oxford enough.
But then I started thinking — isn’t this better than nothing? Isn’t the mere existence of this manmade lake, in the middle of a desert suburb, enough reason to appreciate it? It might not be native to the land, but someone at some point thought it would be nice to build a peaceful lake here, for families to spend afternoons fishing around, or migrating birds to take a brief rest in, or bumbling millennials in the thick of their twenty-something-existential-crises to feel like there is something familiar to them, even if their heart is five thousand miles away.
Or maybe it’s actually terrible. Maybe the lake is leaking water and quickening the effects of environmental decay and we’ll all be dead in a matter of days because this one synthetic body of water actually produced negative ramifications far beyond our understanding.
Nothing in the world is black or white, or even a gradient of gray. Ecstasy, despair, fury, and peace all blend and dance around the color spectrum, pastel blue anger and deep mauve joy.