My move to Maui is coming in headlines now:

CLOSE LONG-TIME FRIEND MAY BE MOVING TO MAUI TOO! (name withheld)

JUST GOT BRAND NEW MAUI-DO! (as in hair)

NEW BOOK IDEA WITH "MAUI" IN THE TITLE (top secret)

TOMORROW IS OFFICIAL PACKING DAY (with help from a world-traveler)

BELOVED CAT IS A METAPHOR (again)

The festvities are winding down on the mainland--treasured hours spent in numerous Starbucks, dinners in the homes of friends, another at Black Angus, an outdoor tea, two coffees in Fair Oaks Park with the full regalia of chickens holding court, and a couple of cherished overnights. Today a downtown brunch at Tulles with dear friends, Lauren and Michael, my Sacramento hosts, along with our mutual friend, Susan. Two more sip-and-shares are waiting in the wings, but first, the packing.

In every aspect of my unfolding journey, I have been blessed...including in the challenge of getting all my necessities (clothes, shoes, counter-top water fiter, water pik, expresso machine, printer, etc) and a few personal favorites (my metal "Breathe" sign, pictures, a bed throw) into one maximum-size suitcase, two 62" linear boxes and a carry on. I would be dreading this were it not for Melinda, new friend and packer-extraordinaire. We'll start with coffee and end with 180 pounds of goods contained in a total of 222 linear inches. I'm not sure how much I will have to leave behind, but I do know that Melinda and I will have a good time.

Then there's the kitty. When I moved to Fresno five years ago to take up residence with Johnnie, The Dancin Man, I left behind my home in Fair Oaks, my dear companion, Sandi, and our cat, Mars. The week of my departure, our older cat, Mystique (a self-proclaimed diva), died--as if she just wouldn't stand for being deserted that way. And now Mars, unlike his former step-sister in every way, is following suit even though I've only been a guest (albeit a frequent one) since then. Both times the uncanny loss of dear pets brought my underlying grief to a sharp, laser-like focus. Late Friday night, sitting in the garage by Mars' little grey self with his white tuxedo and four white paws, I cried for the hundred endings of which he is the perfect metaphor. At almost 16, and having outlived his kidney disease prognosis by several years, his timing is impeccable. Shakespeare, after all this time, still said it best: sweet sorrow.

In the midst of it all, I feel a new headline is being written--this one on my heart: CALIFORNIA GIRL LEARNS THE TRUE MEANING OF "ALOHA" (the eternal loop of hello and goodbye).

Yours on the Evolving Journey,
Maridel