Unless in the next two months Harlan gets a job shooting Big Love or Terrance Malick’s next film—putting it out there!—it looks like this fall we are heading off to a new, very different life. A life in academia, a life in a small, but lovely and lively city that has seasons! A life relatively free from financial anxiety. I am excited. I really am. But I am also very sad to leave our current life that I love. As I walk the palm and eucalyptus-lined streets of my neighborhood, wistfulness creeps up over me, nostalgia for this place before we’ve even gone. I watch jasmine winding its prowling vines around hot pink bougainvillea as if for the last time, breathing in the frail blossoms, the burst of color until tears fill my eyes. I want to capture everything before I go. The babies in our beach mama group. The moms hovering about, chatting about preschools and first steps. My baby trotting off along the sand, the independent traveler, always off-roading, leaving the sandbox to march up the hills, over the cement paths, down the stairs and back again, clutching shovels in each hand, paving his own path, glancing over his little shoulder, making sure I’m in his wake. He will find new paths to follow wherever we land, but he will never be this age again in this town on this beach in Venice, where he lived the first year of his life. Where he was happy and adored by his grandparents who live just a couple of songs on the radio up the coast. I watch him and I yearn to hold this moment in the palm of my hand, to put it in my pocket and warm it there forever.

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Venice boy

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