It is with great pleasure I now sit in my yard, eating the breakfast made by the only native French baker in San Diego, listening to waves crash upon the beach. The croissant, it is buttery, flaky, and fulfilling, nothing like the cornstarch-laden pig slop the locals so seem to enjoy. The new fountain, decorated in Mediterranean Islamic style geometric tiles, burbles happily next to me. I sigh in deep content.
It makes my mind travel to boyhood, when times were simple.
Paris was my home, but the noise, it was too much! I would often languish in stupor, head lolling as the cars would honk and the people would shout. A joyous city, every corner steeped in la joie de vie! My parents knew even at young age my poetic soul would absorb too much of such energy and burst! So they would take me to family estate, nestled in hills south of Toulon, where the rich Mediterranean sea could heal my troubled head.
It was here that my memories shine clearest now, running through the ancient building, ornate arches separating rooms filled with crystalline figures and Baroque art. Diving from 10 meter high cliffs into an emerald sea, competing with other boys to see who could climb them fastest and jump from highest ledge. Sunset bringing cool breeze with smell of sea, filling my young body with vitality and power! I fell asleep to the sweet sound of my mother singing, my father accompanying her on old guitar and burbling fountain…
As I grow old now, I desire some comforts of home in far away lands I must now stay in for long periods of time. I have the crystal; I have the Baroque paintings lining my walls. Yet still, for so long there was something missing, a hole that could not be filled by art and croissants.
A dream of boyhood chateau sanctuary finally provided answer – it was the fetid squalor I was living in! The cheap drywall filled me with sudden disgust, and the crude deck – the work of angry drunken man with sloped forehead, no doubt! I took a sledgehammer to it immediately, its very existence insulted me. I remembered then reading a local digest about a company providing pleasing landscape designs in Rancho Santa Fe, and the next step became clear in my mind.
I called Torrey Pines Landscaping, apoplectic and frequently blacking out in my rage, and after they soothed me with calming words, they agreed to come and view my sorry property. I spent days feverishly drawing out plans, sketches pouring out of memories of my childhood refuge. When they arrived, they were first taken aback by the mountain of papers I gave them. After a few hours of explanation, they knew what had to be done.
Within months, it was done. For Americans, they had done remarkable job recreating the Mediterranean feel, though nothing will ever truly compare to the Riviera. For the first time in many years in this sorry country, I felt complete and at home. I finish the last of my glycine coffee now, wiping the crumbs of the croissant off and lighting my last morning cigarette. I stand, the sandstone tiles rough on my bare feet, and smile at new, but old, landscape design in my San Diego home. Much work to be done, but this can be my new, reinvigorating sanctuary.
Torrey Pines Landscape Company
5560 Eastgate Mall, San Diego, CA 92121