of fun, flowers, fern and familiarity

we had an epic trip up to shasta county this weekend. most trips home are epic, in one way or another. this time it was full of paradox. cars and flowers, bitter and sweet, lack of sleep and first full nights, finding home and losing it in the same breath, eternity and momentary. we came back to the city with a car full of old toys and books, tiny wooden chairs, planters and a heart full of space and heavy with longing.

and so i have an equally epic post to share…first up:

start your engines

it may seem somehow out of character, given the content of the rest of this blog, but…you can take the girl out of redding, but you can’t take redding out of the girl. events like “kool april nights”, a classic car show that features vehicles from collectors statewide and surrounding, gives me ample opportunity to let my hick flag fly. i love old cars. they are gas guzzlers (unless you make ’em biodiesel) and have nothing to do with creating a healthier worldwide ecosystem, and i still get giddy and rubberneck whenever i see one. someday i hope to own a model A truck. or an el camino. there. now you know. i hope you still love me.

i am not, however, convinced that you, my dear readers, give a flying ford. therefore, i will not torture you with a slideshow snoozer. i present…THE GALLERY OF GAS GUZZLERS. all you motorheads out there…enjoy. everyone else, scroll down.

one of the reasons i wanted to go this weekend, beyond EXHAUSTING car shows (eh heh heh) was for, oh gosh surprise. wildflowers. not to be outdone by vehicular glam, nature in shasta county always busts out in all its finest the same weekend as the car show. sometimes a little before, a little after, but this time it was peak season. glory!

we arrived on friday night at 1am. it was far too dark to know that we would awaken to a day of dew and gentle green. but after turning on the water out front in the dark that night, something caught my eye. i walked over to our beloved lilac bush to discover it was full bloom. i spent a good 5 minutes snarfing, enraptured in scent. and knew our timing couldn’t be better.

lilac enchantment (for america)

i made a wonderful lilac flower essence our first day. i hope to put up a tutorial later this week.

home
spooning blue dicks (RICHARDS, people)
fiddleneck
i don't immediately know what this flower is. it looks like it's in the pea family, yes? anyone wildflower lovers out there know?
in the beard tongue family...scarlet penstemon, perhaps?
tidy tips. best name ever.

on sunday we drove up to the millville plains, where i thought we might be in for delight. and we were. carpets of tidy tips and goldfields, breathtaking.

mountain, flower carpet, me. me trying to focus my camera on an individual flower. view? what view? there's some kind of joke here about why this makes me a good psychotherapist. be nice.

jeff took a video, which does better justice and also features a cameo of my giant head.

as i mentioned previously, fern’s sleep pattern has been making our nights like a slow drip towards morning, and we haven’t had any deep sleep for 4 months now. part of the reason has been because side nursing has not been working. side nursing is usually the savior of exhausted mommies, and at first it seemed like fern was getting into it. but for the last few months, she has not settled down enough for us both to go back to sleep, and instead has taken to ripping her head off the breast repeatedly, keeping a firm clamp on my nipple as she does. i don’t know what changed this weekend…we were away from city lights, out of our bedroom with all the energy of computers and the day, and we didn’t use any white noise. whatever it was, by night two, we had our first full night of sleep in months, with fern latched on almost all night. we have continued now that we are back in the city and folks, here’s to hoping we have finally turned a corner.

our little elfea loved being in the country. the first morning as we stepped out onto grass with diamond dew, she looked down and began squealing in glee. she kept it up all weekend.

muskrats in the winter. turtles in the spring. minnows in the summer. algae slime mass in the fall.

at dry creek falls, a favorite childhood spot just down the road. jeff and fern are perched on the rock.

so happy.
she was singing along with the water.
turkey vultures kept us company from above, warming their wings

the neighbors pasture goats on our property in the spring and summer. they weren’t there when we arrived, and we mentioned sadly to each other their absence several times the first day. then that evening, a truck drove through the orchard, with our friends in the back. our favorite is junior, who was raised indoors his first few months, and so is very, very friendly.

junior and sibling
i shall kees you!
oh herro
fern, junior. junior, fern.
love at first sight.

i took an afternoon to dig out a few boxes from the garage, mining for childhood goodies. we brought back several toys and books. the toys are unforgivably plastic…what to do? i certainly will not be buying new plastic, but part of me thinks the awesomeness factor completely cancels out the BPAs. right?

i can hear you out there. "happy apple!? i had one of those!"

in the early mornings i took my cuppa joe outside and meandered around in the late spring splendor. as i walked i had a re-membering (as shane says, in the double sense of the word). living in san francisco, under necessity and complex circumstances, i begin to lose connection to land, and i think, “oh, that idea that i have, that i need to live in the country and in particular shasta county…it’s just a thought. it’s an ideal. it’s a dream. if i could just let go of attachment to that ideal, then maybe i could really take root in the city.”

but as i walked around, be it through wet flowers and weeds that soaked my shoes or alongside a creek while turkey vultures circled above, one thing became clear. my desire to live on land is not based on an idea. every cell in my body ached with a resonant “yes” and i felt the space around my heart expand, a familiar feeling that feels normal. that feels healthy.

what to do? i bent down to the ground and whispered in prayer, “help me find my way back”.

snail trail
goin' down that road
old oak friend
it's not about the house.
huff and puff up. run willy nilly down.
wonder discs
the goats followed me everywhere
please make me a farm
looking across at the neighbors
early morning riser
somehow, someway
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10 thoughts on “of fun, flowers, fern and familiarity

  1. Can I write you and your old truck dreams love letters? ‘Cause Cal makes fun of me every time I grin at and old 1930-something on the side of the road and think how nice it would be fixed up, painted robin’s egg blue and rigged to run on biodiesel.

    Lovely pictures as always. You make me want to move to California some days.

  2. you n me will get a truck, jen, paint it robin’s egg blue and put wooden slats on the back. we’ll fill the back with hay, throw our girls in, and take off down some country road, thelma and louise style. 🙂

  3. So Mary Good, I shall confess to you a secret (for gifting me with such a heartfelt and thoroughly enjoyable epic tale).
    One of the first books I ever bought when I was a young mother of 20, with two nursing babies, was entitled: Small Scale Goatkeeping. ‘Tis true, this city girl had visions of living the life you describe so beautifully. I traveled back in time reading your post and re-membered all the joy it brought me then…and now, just thinking about it. Thank you, xo

      1. Not yet…
        I am taken aback by all the memories that have washed over me since reading and re-reading your story. Really, thanks again Mary, heart expanding stuff this is.

  4. Love the cars! Old school gas guzzlers are the bomb! I enjoyed the story and photos of Shasta County. It reminds me of Orange County before the Irvine Family eminate domained all the land around where I grew up and turned it into town homes and shopping malls. I remember the day that changed everything. I had just gotten home from living in Germany my first time and told my foster mom I was heading out to the local horse ranch to go horseback riding and she told me all the ranches were gone. Talk about a crushing blow! I love wide open spaces. That’s one of the reasons I agreed to moved here and take care of Chris. There are ranches in Novato if you know where to look and plenty of wide open land just waiting to mezmerise you. My foster dad has been pushing me to move back to OC since I rarely go home. He simply doesn’t get the fact that there nothing there for me anymore.

    1. walter, that story of yours, of returning home and finding old wild playgrounds and natural spaces turned into strip malls is far, far too common. i’m sorry. i enjoy having insight into the choices that have led to the life you have now.

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