How San Clemente tortures me in Idaho


Graces curls loved the humidity

It’s not that I think about it all the time. It never happens in the busy daytime. It’s mostly at night. Sometimes Sam and I will watch a movie that shows the lifestyle and colors of Southern California and it gets me thinking. Sometimes just seeing the colors and attitude on Jay Leno triggers it. It’s most powerful when its dark outside and the kids are sleeping. I have time to reflect.  

The last time it happened to me I was sifting through photos from the last 5 years and I come across an image of my two little girls sitting in their toy jeep at dusk. It pulled me through time and space to that moment. Photography can do that. I could see the quality of the light filtering through the moist atmosphere. The smell of our gardenia bushes and the salty air snapped into mind. The the distant hum of the freeway off in the distance took me back. It happened again. I felt the tug of regret. The regret of leaving that mysteriously alluring place, San Clemente.

Ask me to explain it. Why do people live in Southern California? Idahoans don’t understand. All they see is all the people, chaos, earthquakes, criminals, illegal aliens, and a bankrupt state with a wildly expensive cost of living. Why do people live there? Idahoans ask me all the time.

For me it’s simple. It’s the energy the fun and the weather. It’s the feeling of possibility – anything is possible down there. It’s electric. There’s power to excite you just by getting on the freeway. I love being immersed in its crackling energy. By cracky, its cracklin’.

Every part that makes it intolerable to live there is overwhelmed by the tsunami of energy that is SoCal. 

I love Idaho. I am an Idahoan. I belong here. I understand it here. There’s no mystery. When you grow up in a place and go to elementary school, middle and high school in a place its attitudes, speed and energy level become your normal levels. I’m comfortable here. I guess I’ll stay. But Sometimes I regret leaving San Clemente.


  1. I get you. The idea of living where possibilities crackle is very alluring to me, too. But I’m a lifelong Hoosier well adjusted to Indiana’s pace and values, and I’m not sure I can ever leave it.

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