Back to the howling old owl in the woods
Hunting the horny back toad
Oh I've finally decided my future lies
Beyond the yellow brick road
- Elton John, Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road
Every once in a while I get the itch to be in a city. When I get tired of wearing work boots, dog-hair-covered shirts and dirty jeans. When I just need some time in a store that isn't Walmart - one that's heard of tempeh and fennel and miso. When a thin layer of lipstick makes me feel made up like a beauty pageant contestant.
I got my big city fix last week in one of the country's most beautiful cities: San Francisco. There is no doubt there is something exhilarating about being in a large metropolitan area - the streets and highways like pumping arteries, the overwhelming amount of goods and services - anything that one's heart desires - the flow of people from every walk of life and culture making their way along sidewalks and through city parks; new vistas, unfamiliar sounds. I enjoy it all and sometimes feel like a country bumpkin fresh off of the turnip truck, constantly swiveling my head to take in the colors and sights.
The urge to be surrounded by cement, however, and block after block of buildings and endless streams of cars passes quickly and I'm always relieved to get back to the quiet days and dark nights of the country. My mind inevitably strays, just as it did as I was crossing over the San Mateo Bridge one late afternoon, the sun sparkling on the water and the rise and fall of blue mountains far off in the distance: This must've been really something before humans got here. That's when I know it's time to head home and assuage my jaded eyes with the fields and trees of home. Time to pull my crummy jeans back on and to head out with Ike into the sound of the clean wind.