Ojai is too bright and hot to ever fully open my eyes, so the result is a trip a little fuzzy around the edges. We arrive in the early afternoon, irritable with hunger and the delays of Labor Day traffic. We walk slowly through the types of stores you can only find in towns like this, where big names aren’t allowed and the antique store stretches on for miles, crammed with one of everything you might ever want. We eat Mexican food and when we check into our hotel, the receptionist pours us two glasses of cabernet and tells us when we can see the pink moment. We drive the short distance up to Meditation Mount; I arrive at the top feeling motion sickness from filming too much of the bumpy ride up the hillside. Then: dinner at the nicest place you’d ever want to eat—a table set against a miniature forest of bamboo and flanked on the other side by a sprawling herb garden.
Neither of us sleeps.
I don’t know why, but I wake up every hour, squinting into the darkness to see what time the cable box says it is. I’m relieved when it’s morning, when we finally pull ourself out of bed in search of coffee and scones, eating in the car as we head to our next destination: a popular, easy hike that takes us around the back of an orange grove. It is impossibly hot. My tee shirt is damp with sweat by the end of it; we turn the A/C on high and drive slowly, letting the car cool down.
We eat vegan wraps for lunch next to a very old cocker spaniel that keeps dipping its ears into the water bowl. We head home when the sun is at its hottest point. I take my boots off and toss them into the trunk. S puts his hat in the backseat.
Everything is burnt orange and bright green until we get back to the coast—and then it is only blue blue blue.
photographs taken in Ojai, California.