It feels so strange to be sitting here and outlining a post about some of my favourite places to read outside of the house, where nature runs rampant without a single fuck to give as we humans are still struggling to find ways to endure another year of pandemics and political disasters. Nevertheless, I wanted to give myself a reminder as to what is waiting for me out there once I’m vaccinated and the world slowly starts to venture outdoors of our dystopia-seasoned environments.
This year marked the 11th anniversary of my brother’s passing. His birthday, which was in February, and his death anniversary, which occurred on the last day of March, brought me waves of emotions, ranging from grief and loneliness to pride and adoration. It also worked as a token to me of one of my favourite places in all of California, and quite possibly this whole dastardly world as it is dripping in sentiments.
As I pondered about life, the universe, and most of everything in it, I knew that self-isolation and quarantine wouldn’t last forever, even though that is how it currently feels. Eventually, some folx will have to leave their little cosy caves for various personal reasons in order to move forward with their existences, and when I’m finally able to do this myself, I want to return to Seaside Beach in Monterey, California.
When my brother was alive, whenever either of us needed to talk about anything significant (whether it pertained to relationships or big decisions in our professional/academic careers or something else entirely), we would take the long drive to Seaside Beach, spread out a blanket and weight it down with the bags of billiards balls he kept in his trunk (inside joke, don’t ask), then we would sit down, drink a beer or two and pour our hearts out. Occasionally if the moment called for it, we’d bust out with one of his fancy bottles of Scotch, but those were typically reserved for emergency situations (for example, he once had to decide if he wanted to take on a major case that would take him away from home for about six months to a year, and if he accepted, he’d have to leave the following evening; that was an emergency situation in our book).
The last time I visited Seaside Beach was right before quarantine hit the States, to celebrate the decade memorial of his passing. Since he died in 2010, I hadn’t returned to Seaside Beach at all. It was too emotionally devastating. Yet, last year the time to fully process and accept his death for what it was had arrived. I couldn’t keep holding on to that emotional wall strapped to my back anymore. I went with my best friend at the time and, even though we only stayed for about an hour, it was so invigoratingly cathartic.
When I am eventually able to return (I hope I can visit for my birthday in October, granted it will be as cold as a fucking White Walker’s soul), I am looking forward to sipping hot chocolate from my thermos, walking along the shore, and then settling in for some reading fun-times. That’s the other thing my brother and I would do. After we were finished chatting, and if weren’t quite ready to head home and back to reality, we would both bust out with our individual books and spend hours just reading on the beach. If perfection had a portrait, that would be it.
So, today I wanted to start celebrating my favourite places to read again as an anticipatory sort of festivity for when it shall be (mostly) safe to return to the wilds of outdoor bibliophilic shenanigans once more, and I’m starting with most special of places that I’ve got (so far): Seaside Beach in Monterey, California.