Light Gaps

Light Gaps

“When a tree falls, light floods into the open gap. Many plants and seeds take advantage of the windfall and quickly grow.” – California Academy of Sciences


Even a great childhood is challenging because it requires growing and learning amongst varying obstacles. The most prominent for Rory is her brothers. They help refine her and define her simply by growing next to her in the same house. But I see how beneficial it is to take her out of her usual environment, away from her brothers, and when those gaps are there she soars. Being in California is evidence of this.


Saturday uncle Alex had a surprise up his sleeve for Rory. But first we headed to Alemany Farmer’s Market where open-air stalls of colorful fruits and vegetables greeted us with exuberance: white-orbed turnips with the softest lilac color tickling their noses; soft yellow and bright red cherries; citruses of sunshiny yellow, vibrant orange, and passionate green. Leaves of all varieties – curled, smooth, swirled, rainbowed, rough, spiky, long, and short. Rory taste tested and asked questions. She touched and smelled. She followed Oma’s every thoughtful purchase and made a few of her own, I had doubts we’d ever eat all they were buying. But eat we did and what fun it was! I hadn’t had such a perfectly ripe apricot ever. So smooth, so sweet, none of that odd sulfur taste a dried apricot carries in every bite. A giant grapefruit of a bright yellow, inside and out, if one could taste sass, this fruit dished it.



Once we exhausted our visit with the dedicated and talented farmers of California, we hopped in the car and headed towards Oakland. Over the beautiful white Bay Bridge, we swirled our way through traffic, the rain sprinkling the windshield and threatening our fun. Alex soon made a right into a parking lot beside an adorable place called Fairyland. The rain started falling faster and the closed sign became evident as we drove closer. Alas and a lack, the surprise was postponed. No complaints, no whines, Rory stretched herself towards the sun and said, “What’s next!” Growth!


So what better to honor such growth than to hug some trees? We zoomed up the hills to a park filled with walking trails for Oma and Rory to hug their first redwoods. The smells fresh and clean, the mud sticky and abundant, Rory and Oma touched the beautiful ferns, strained their necks to see the redwoods tall and glorious. They raced down the mushy path, stopping to blow seeds off giant dandelion puffs and admire unusual flowers they had never seen. We might have missed Fairyland, but these two wood sprites were making up for it.





Sadly, in addition to the glum rain, grouchy trolls accompanied the energetic wood sprites. Alex’s dinner hadn’t set well with him the night before and my Virginia funk continued to make its presence known. We attempted to have some soup in Berkeley, right by the campus of University of California, Berkeley, but the spirits weren’t reviving. So we shuffled home early once more. No fuss, no complaints, not a worry from Rory. She grew another inch in her graciousness and said returning early just meant more time for playing at Alex’s place.

To be continued…



2 Replies to “Light Gaps”

  1. I just LOVE your travel stories…except the part where you and Uncle Alex are under the weather. Booooooo. I think Rory would be happy doing anything and nothing if she’s with the people she loves! Hope everyone is back to full strength asap and can’t wait to hear about the rest of your adventures!!

  2. What a wonderful, fun-filled trip. Sorry you and Alex were not feeling well. It is that time of year w/weather change and pollen. Anyway, wonderful stories and great pictures!