In the evening G and I walk out over the trestle and onto the bluffs along the rugged California coast. The Pacific has a magical aura—incomprehensible and vast—my eyes can’t define its depths, its proximity or strength. I know that locals don’t swim here and that the area usually loses around 5 tourists a year to the sea. It’s rough, cold and yet luscious white where waves crest and roll out long before reaching shore. Spring here and the wildflowers along the bluffs bloom—purple, pink, blue, yellow where we follow windy paths and G tells me that here her mother walked when she was waiting for Georgia, and squatting down to pee, her water broke. I tell G and her mama about the births of my various (five) siblings: once I made a cake with gumdrops, once Hannah and I ran across the yards to climb the stairwell of a tall apartment building so we might spot the hospital where Mom had just given birth to Bess.
Mama Sally and I sit in G’s big bed watching her organize her bookshelves. Mama whispers, “She’s nesting,” G rolls her eyes at us. Everyone seems to be pressuring her to have the baby, though today is her actual due date. “She’s almost ready,” Mama Sally says to me, “she’s ripe.”
At Maurine’s Bookstore I bought “My Antonia.” G says probably she and Maurine bought their first copies of the book at that very bookstore. I sit in the bay window of the apartment reading Willa Cather for the first time. I think of how I love landscapes, how I need them and am overwhelmed by them. I dream of the sea at night and then of my sister, Hannah. I dream of my husband and the copse of trees we have passed everyday on the bluffs—trees that seem permanently windblown: craggy cedars.