It’s as if we never left San Francisco — the air is the same, cool and clear, as it washes over us after a very long and uneventful flight. Why does anyone fly today when there is so little comfort and so few amenities?

Our first vision as we drive from the airport is that familiar skyline, silhouetted against the fading western sunset, illuminating one of the world’s famous bridges with its string of bright lights, giving the illusion of an expensive necklace stretching over the bay.

The change really wasn’t so bad this time, leaving my relatively new home on the East Coast to my former home on the West Coast. The day was sunny and in the mid-30s when the plane departed for the 3,200-mile trip.

I’ve made this trip many times in the eight years since I left, and always imagine myself going to sleep on one coast and waking on another, but that sleep never seems to happen.

Waking the next day at the apartment of dear friends, I hear the wild parakeets in the eucalyptus grove 12 stories below, an indication of definitely having arrived at our home away from home. The window is wide open allowing the bay breezes to sweep through the rooms with the aroma of budding blossoms, a sign of spring which amazes me as much today as it did when I lived here.

Sometimes I know precisely why I left this home of 35 years to find a new one with characteristics so different they cannot be measured in miles. I guess that important decision was made in a moment, closing one chapter, a long one, and moving into another, taking our lives and all that we inhabited in another direction.

There is no snow, black ice or anywhere near below-freezing temperatures as I contemplate my day, wearing only one outer layer of clothing and feeling about 10 pounds lighter.

Majestic hills, sounds of the trolley cars along the Embarcadero and fresh crab sandwiches provide my early day with sheer delight, until my feet ache so badly by mid-afternoon that I’m forced to imbibe a cappuccino at one of my favorite cafes in the Bohemian section of town. Finally, someone recognizes me, as the owner of this landmark hangout greets me with a big smile and a hardy handshake. Now I really feel at home!

But this is not my home anymore and perhaps in that “moment” I am fully aware of it as I begin to discuss the advantages of my new home, answering that universal question with pride; “How’s the lobster back there?”

I proudly answer “Fabulous, plentiful and a lot less expensive than it is here!” followed by “What do you do with all that snow and cold weather?” to which I answer “I shovel it and wear about three layers of clothing!”

Now, the big question that I know is coming and am always at a loss for a logical answer; “Why did you ever leave here?” This time the answer was right there: “Because I fell in love with another town.”

– Special to the Telegram