I’m standing on a rock overlooking the ocean, just south of Jenner on Highway 1. The sun is setting, painting the type of picture you feel honored to witness. I spent this day, and the one before it, taking part in an act as ageless as watching the sky at dusk: climbing up rocks. And while rope and harnesses give us measurable added comfort as compared to our long ago kin, the fascination and simplicity have gone unchanged.
I’ve only just now reentered my apartment after its evacuation earlier tonight. The house next to ours, and the one next to it, caught fire. A “three alarm fire”, dozens of emergency response vehicles lining the blocks surrounding Lyon and Fulton Street. Flames leaping out the top of the house. Almost 50 people displaced, even after the fire was contained and extinguished. And as I fall asleep, tired and satisfied after a beautiful day outside bouldering, scrambling up rocks made a million years before, I marvel also at the sobering effect of seeing fire so easily destroy things that humans built.
I’ve just finished Chimamanda Adichie’s incredible novel Americanah, a book that details with great honesty and unapologetic candor the experience of a young Nigerian woman, Ifemelu, moving to America. While the characters are fictional, the issues of gender and race discussed throughout—and how Ifemelu deals with them—are alternately heartbreaking and uproariously funny.
I spent most of my time growing up in Marlborough, Connecticut. In the center of town, there was an ice cream shop. It’s gone now, but while it thrived, and while my sister and I were young, it was a frequent destination for our family. I remember only two things about it, aside from its prominent location on Route 66, adjacent to the town’s only bank, one half of its pizza restaurants, the lone pharmacy, and a florist.