I had this lettuce for lunch from the Sebastopol farmers market.
I’m so happy to finally be here in California after two days of packing the truck, seven days of driving, and two days of unpacking everything I own into a storage unit. But I’m here, the sale of my house has closed, and I’m ready to start a new life.
I still have much to do to set up my office and be able to get back on my regular schedule. I’m having a lot of connection problems with email and Internet access so if you have written to me and haven’t heard back from me or your email was returned that’s why. But I expect to be able to set up my usual desktop computer this week and start going through all the emails.
Please forgive my run on sentences and grammar errors today. I am dictating this into my iPhone and having to edit it on the small screen which is very difficult.
I have had some limited access to emails and received some questions so I want to tell you more about what’s going on in my life and where I am right now in California and why. Because I’ve really found that there is an enormous difference between where I was living in Florida and where I am living now and how I’m feeling and my overall happiness and health.
Larry and I have undertaken an enormous task of re-organizing our lives around ideas, abilities, relationships, experiences, adventures, and other such soul-satisfying interests rather than the pursuit of material goods. And so we have been simplifying our lives and reducing our possessions and now are in California continuing that process with things that Larry has accumulated over the years. With the goal being more freedom and lightness to make new choices about our life together.
I’ve been asked WHERE we are now living in California and WHY we moved there and WHY we left Florida. So I thought I would answer these questions today because I’m not yet set up to send you the usual newsletter.
First why we left Florida. Florida is a very difficult place for me to live. We moved there in the first place because there were things we wanted to do there and didn’t really realize how difficult it would be to live in that environment. It is extremely hot and humid most of the year, the winters are beautiful, and my life basically consisted of going from my air conditioned house to my air-conditioned car to an air-conditioned building. I could spend very little time outdoors and what time I did spend outdoors was mostly spent battling the many insects that were trying to bite me. And also trying to not be sunburned and collapsing from sunstroke. It was just a constant battle with the environment. When Larry and I got back together we both decided that we no longer wanted to live in Florida and he “brought me home” to California.
We are living with his family right now in Sebastopol California. It’s a lovely little town in Sonoma County about two hours north of San Francisco. It’s right on the southern edge of the wine country of Sonoma and Napa counties.
It’s about a half hour drive to the beach, the Pacific ocean, and we get that clean air as if we were right on the beach itself. The first morning we were here we looked out the window and the sky was gray. We were wondering if it was going to rain but there was no rain in the forecast. We were wondering why the sky was gray and then we remembered that fog comes in from the ocean on summer mornings and late afternoons and that the grey sky we were seeing was the fog. I have lived with his fog my whole life except for the 15 years I’ve just been in Florida and yet I had forgotten it until I actually got here. We are sleeping with the windows open and feel that gentle fog comes in in the morning and it’s so wonderful to wake up to that coolness against the warm summer mid days. After 15 years of close windows and air conditioning I am loving breathing this air that is so clean and alive with windows open and going for walks.
The water we have here at Larry’s family home is from a well and it is so delicious and so clean. It isn’t filtered tapwater it’s actually water from the earth. And I love this water I love to drink and I love to bathe in it it just is again alive.
But the best part for me so far was this morning we went to the farmers market and it was an actual market with actual farmers. Everybody there had grown the food or prepared for the local food with their own hands or had tended the sheep and made something from the wool. At one stand I found celery root with the actual celery attached. You never see it this way in the supermarket but I could see and experience the whole plant. Another stand had about 10 varieties of apples that they grew on their farm and next week I’m going to go back and buy them all so that I could taste the different varieties next to each other and see which one I like best. The food was so beautiful and so vibrant and so abundant and this is the food we should be eating.
This is a farming community that we live in but it’s not an Agro business community it’s a community of small family farms many of them organic. I pointed out to Larry a sign that said “canning supplies – Apple press rentals.” And that for me summed up the town because people are growing apples are buying them from local farms and everybody’s making apple cider at home. And they all know how to make it along with twenty other things to do from the surplus of apples that are just falling off the trees here.
Downtown there are a number of shops of the usual times selling clothing and housewares and things like that but they’re all independently on and many of the products are made locally. And there are feed stores right now in town selling animal feed that and other things having to do with farm supplies. It’s so wonderful because it’s about Life here. It’s about the growing of things on the making of things rather than the buying of industrial consumer goods.
It’s also a community. As you drive down the street you see signs inviting you to the polenta and beef stew dinner or the lobster fest or the pancake breakfast. And all these are arranged so that neighbors can meet each other and get to know each other.
I had none of these things in Florida and my heart just aches for them. Because I have had all this before living in California. When I lived in the San Geronimo Valley everyone who lived in the whole valley had Thanksgiving dinner together in the community center, all potluck turkeys with all the sides.
I actually burst into tears at the farmers market today because this is so how we should be living. And Larry knew that and brought me here and didn’t let us stay in that environment of Florida. Here we are much closer to nature and much happier for it.
When we were in Florida we had difficulty sleeping and so of course we would look for natural things that we could take that would help asleep. But here we have no problem sleeping at all and part of that is because were outside doing things and walking around and when it’s time to sleep we’re ready to sleep. Larry says, “All we needed was a dose of ‘natural environment’.” And this makes me wonder how many things we think of as illnesses are simply lack of being connected to the earth and life and creating life. I’ve visited a woman who bought my needlepoint chair and she and her husband are out building cabins for their bed-and-breakfast restoring old buildings bringing pieces from different places and putting them together. That’s work. And at the end of the day you’re happy and tired and you’ve eaten good food from the farms and you sleep and your body feels good. It’s not about Healthcare it’s not about going to the doctor or a remedy. It’s about actually living the life that nature designed our bodies for.
This morning I ate something called a crane melon for breakfast. Local organically grown it was delicious it had its own wonderful flavor kind of a cross between a cantaloupe and honeydew melon. It was grown on a local farm and will never be found in a supermarket.
So this is where we are and this is what we’re doing. And we’ll see what happens next!