The boxes are packed (except for the computer, stereo, and CDs, which I refuse to part with 'till the last possible moment), the utilities are set to be terminated, the mail is soon to be forwarded and we are counting down the days until we pack up and ship out of Orlando. There are some things I may miss about Florida - the amazing birds (herons, eagles, buzzards, cranes), the typically balmy nights, the sky shredding thunder and lighting storms, even the theme parks to some small extent - but we are beyond happy (for reasons that I touched upon here ) to be returning to California. Perhaps my nearly two years absence from the state of my birth has made me overly sentimental or ridiculously romantic but I find myself thinking that California's nickname, The Golden State , has a deeper reference than the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in 1848 . Just as the gold of alchemy has been largely misconstrued as the physical metal only, so to the gold of California. Is California The Golden State because it is a place where we might be capable of tweaking the chemistry of our spiritual/psychological make up, transmuting it from a base substance into a pure one? I think that more so than many states in the union, California is such a place. Certainly more so than Florida, at least in my estimation. I suppose that the generally perceived notion of California as a haven for whackos and mystics is hardly surprising considering that the very name of the place was derived from a 16th century Spanish fantasy novel. The Spanish who "discovered" California believed it to be an island - I think that they were right!