Soquel

We bought the house we live in nearly forty years ago. I was drawn to this area in the Santa Cruz Mountains even before that. In high school my surfing friends and I would drive over the mountain range to go ride waves at Pleasure Point, on the northern edge of the Monterey Bay. I remember as we passed the old IOOF cemetery out on the edge of town how we would laugh at one of the more prominent head stones close to the road, that of a fellow named Davis Peck. The stone is still there. I’m not sure why we found it so fascinating, but were sure to make note of it every time we drove by, on our way to the beach. Soquel keeps alive some of the original characteristics that have drawn people to it. Perhaps mainly because of the forest to the north, the creek that runs all year round through down town, and how Soquel adjoins another quaint village, Capitola, that faces out onto the Monterey Bay.

As I pass through Soquel village to this day I feel a nostalgia for some of the small farm towns in eastern Oregon where my ancestors settled in the middle of the nineteenth century. The size, the geographical proximity to inspirational views into the mountains, the cluster of tiny stores on the main drag. When time came that I was old enough to buy a home, my first choice was Soquel. The windy twisty road that would lead into the village from the summit road always made me feel like I was coming home, even when a teenager, long before I ever entertained the notion of living there. How might I express a sense of belonging somewhere when I have never lived there? I’ve heard other people say they have had the same sense about a place.

The California cities have grown so quickly and gotten so leggy, have sprawled so erratically in all directions, since I first moved here with my family in 1960, that I often lose not only my sense of belonging, but often can hardly recognize where I am located. I trip over my sensory intake, out of frustration to look for landmarks that no longer exist.

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