Sunday, August 31, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

IT WAS NINE YEARS AGO, to the day, that I moved to California from Kansas City. I flew to Los Angeles and stayed at my friends' house for three weeks while I ostensibly searched for a job and an apartment. I ended up only finding the apartment in that time. After the allotted three weeks, I flew back, packed my belongings and my cat Myrna into a Ryder truck and drove out. (The story of that trip can be found here.)

What I remember most about flying to Los Angeles nine years ago is the very last part of the flight, because it seemed so portentous. As we made our descent, approaching Los Angeles from the east, what we first saw was fire. The hills were on fire. Los Angeles, it appeared, was on fire. Because there were wildfires in the hills outside of L.A. at that time that were burning out of control.

And so, as I looked out the window at the city that was to become my new home, I saw acres and acres of fire and tall plumes of smoke. I had left the safety of the Midwest, of Kansas City, where I had spent all of my life up until then, and it was as if I was descending into hell. Or at least into chaos.

I had to laugh, because the imagery was so obvious and heavy-handed. It seemed to scream, "You're making a mistake! Turn back!"

But I knew I was making the right choice. And when I finally arrived in the city with my truck full of crap and my cat, and when I had unpacked all my boxes into my new studio apartment, I was certain. I had made the right decision.

So every year now, as Labor Day approaches and I see the billboards for the Chabad Telethon, I am reminded that it has been another year. And I think about that fire that welcomed me.

No comments: