I woke up early, said hello to my sister’s roommates, and walked into the kitchen. The kitchen is my favorite room in her loft. There are huge windows covering most of the walls, and light streams in, making it warm and cozy. A lot of east Oakland can be seen from the windows, along with the activity in the neighborhood below. Her place is a huge warehouse. Her roommates are artists, musicians and writers. There’s a screen printing area, a small woodshop, a soundproof music room, and a room with large windows where they paint and create.
My sister made me a breakfast of eggs over easy, toast, sweet potato fries and yerba mate tea. We decided to explore the redwoods, which are a ten minute drive from downtown Oakland. In the forest we met a funny old man with a white beard walking six dogs who were bouncing and running all around him. He said he had lived in Oakland since the early seventies. We said hello as we passed by, and he immediately started a conversation with us. I liked him, he was very friendly and reminded me of the openness that is fairly common in folks in the west coast. He recommended a better place to hike than where we were, then proceeded to describe every type of poison ivy in the area and pointed it out to us along the trail as a warning. He told us about the history of Oakland and how the city parks came to be.
“The redwood forests were all torn down in the mid to late 1800s. If you want to see a thousand-year old redwood, check out the Victorian houses. They were built from these trees and you’ll see them there. The reason the redwoods here are smaller than the ones by Santa Cruz is because they’re only 150 years old.”
The wise old hippie in the woods
He was full of interesting information like that. We hung out with him and his dogs for a little while, then proceeded to head to the 150 year old redwood forest he recommended.
The hike through the redwoods was so beautiful. I couldn’t believe that this was only 10 minutes away from the city. My sister and I had a long conversation as I snapped pictures of everything around us. We talked about relationships, our preferences, our goals and dreams, and everything in between. I thought it would be nice to have her 5 minutes away all the time. I could come by whenever I wanted to chat or get inspiration.
After the hike, I reconnected with an old friend and San Francisco roommate that night at The Trappist in Oakland. We sipped good Belgian beer and got caught up on each other’s lives since we saw each other last. We rode out to a taco truck (Taco trucks are an Oakland staple, but somehow I never really gave them a shot the last time i lived here), got a couple burritos, and sat out by Lake Merritt to finish them off.
Today I saw a brief snapshot of what my life in Oakland could be like, and I liked what I saw. I knew I was going to get the itch to start exploring again, but I hoped the Bay Area would satisfy me enough that I could be somewhat content to stay. There are no certainties in life I guess. But maybe that’s a good thing, not knowing. Maybe just living for today is enough.