I knew I was getting accustomed to life in the NW when I no longer found the freeways just stunningly beautiful.

You know you are beauty-starved when you drive down the Banfield, past Lloyd Centre, and just stare at those huge trees and think, “Don’t the people who live here realize how lucky they are?” When it started looking like a lot of asphalt and buildings, I knew I was adjusting.

I’ve already begun the transition back, though, and I find myself once again stunned by the trees and the clouds and the freeways lined with clusters of pink and red roses and the bridges swooping over the steel-blue river; just there for the commuters to stare at. Excess beauty, just spilled along the everyday roads, noticed only in passing by drivers who are focused on not spilling their coffee, on the radio news, on their ipods and their cell phones. I’m not being judgmental—half the time I’m reading, or editing a book for a friend, as we drive by all this incidental loveliness.

Today begins our last week here. It’ll be a busy week; lots of things left to do still, and people to see. We leave for California on Labour Day, and the kids and I fly out of Southern California on Sept. 7th.  It’s too early. I’m not ready to leave.