05 December 2014

Across a foggy Gate: Muscle memory

I made it to the Left Coast in the wee hours of Thursday morning, being on the receiving end of multiple flight cancellations, rerouting and delays. I arrived to a celebration; my friend and fellow Marine, Adrian Kinsella, had collected the family of his Afghan interpreter, Mohammad, from the airport earlier in the day after almost a year of working to get them out of Afghanistan.

Their arrival story is here, the backstory is here as well as on the LeaveNoOne Facebook page. It was truly a momentous occasion and the celebrating went on into the night, after I retired for the evening.
Mohammad and his mom at the airport. (photo: San Jose Mercury News)
The brothers, Mohammad & Adrian (photo: San Jose Mercury News)
As the morning light gave way to rolling taffy clouds, I made my pilgrimage to The Cheeseboard for a Chocolate Thing and a brioche and Peet's Coffee for a late morning breakfast and then wandered about, taking in the familiar and observing the new and listening to Adrian retelling of the family's reunion. Adrian says the fruition is almost surreal, and it hasn't quite settled in that the family is here and safe. 

Adrian trying to decide.....
Just a small inventory of all the cheeses...the chalkboard is almost comprehensive
As the afternoon waned, I took to the streets for a run, following a route that was well-trodden by me, a loop I'd run many times before when I lived here (albeit starting from the opposite side of campus). I didn't get to add any stadium steps as I normally would as there was an event, but was able to capture the moon rising over Strawberry Canyon. There was a lovely feeling of returning home during the run, even as many things have changed about the area. My stride remembered the pavement's rise and fall and the turns along the route were second nature, made without pause and nary a glance to the street signs. 

Sunset from the backside of the Cal Berkeley stadium
Witter Rugby Field and the road to the Strawberry Canyon pool and trails.
Moon is the orb of light on the right edge of the sign.
Easy route through my old neighborhoods
With some climbs......
The evening finished with a quick visit from Mohammad and one of his brothers capped off by wine and tapas at Cesar with Adrian and his roommate, Aram. 

Rahmatullah (one of Mohammad's brothers), Mohammad, me & Adrian
This morning saw me delightfully attending to law school admissions business and the day will close with a trip across the bay to grab the race packets and reunite with a couple of friends for dinner and drinks. Two days to the ECS and the Headlands!


  1. I keep in touch with one of our interpreters and she is doing ok as well. It is a beautiful thing to see. Thank you for the story. More to follow??

  2. If you go to the FB page #LeaveNoOne, there are ways you can help the family.