We are housesitting our friend’s home (Hi America!) in Petaluma.
The house is a ridiculously cute little gem on a sheep ranch. In fact, the house is pretty much everything we are looking for…a miniature farm house. Our friends have done a lot of work creating gardens all around their little one acre, and we have the privilege of caring for them while they are gone.
It’s also been a good opportunity to try out living in the North Bay and getting a sense of what it might be like to commute back into the city for work.
As well, it is helping me fine tune our vision of what we want. For instance, I am putting in an added request of “no noise pollution”. Although the home is surrounded by countryside, there are also lots of neighbors…who seem to enjoy tractor mowing at 10pm (Guess there just aren’t enough hours in the day?!?), you can hear the Sonoma race track near by, and you could also hear the folks at the ranch house having what sounded like a bitchin’ party.
I could barely hear the crickets. Although I did witness four little galumping bodies running across the field, as the raccoon family came to check out the compost pile.
Petaluma is a funny town. Part small town, part suburbia and part agricultural community. We had the pleasure of buying our produce from a little farm store, where what they grow is what they sell, amazingly fresh and incredibly affordable.
I’m having a hard time getting a feeling for the place, since the township feels a little…uncontained. Arbitrary settlements have a sense of “middle of nowhere” to me, as opposed to spots having been chosen for their relationship to the natural surroundings. San Francsico is situated by a large bay, where the greater ocean meets inland, an estuary where pacific animals leave the wild waters to give birth to their young. Thus, the city feels like a nursery for new beginnings. Similarly, Redding is cradled by mountains on three sides, with the life giving waters of the Sacramento coursing through the middle. I feel drawn to places that feel dynamic to me in this way. Perhaps as we move through our week in Petaluma, I will learn the secret of “Why Here?”.
In the meantime, we are back in the city for a day, to attend going away parties, work and rehearsals. As we drove into our neighborhood last night, my heart was lifted as familiar trees and plants came into view. I was suddenly clear on the impact of having spent so much time in the past few years on noticing. Paying attention to incremental seasonal changes, carefully observing the coming and goings of birds, of plant species and matching them to personal internal shifts and external cultural moods has bred intimate familiarity. I have felt disconnected from our place here, since spending two weeks in Shasta County. Bound up in homesickness and urban-sickness, I have not been able to truly return. But today, the air is distinctly fall-ish, the sun is shining and I feel a thrill running through me as I realize, “It’s the beginning of Indian Summer.”. As the rest of the country dips into Autumn, we are finally paid off for all the weeks of fog, as warm days extend into October. It’s the best time to be in San Francisco.
Recently, this blog was the recipient of several vicious comments. Amongst the insanity, the name calling and basic incoherence, was the statement that “Life is not a Tolkien book.”. And I just have to disagree. Aside from the importance of Myth across all cultures and time…Magical realism is a perspective held in the heart, and middle-earth is the fantastical manifestation of such a point of view. Want to achieve Heaven on Earth?
Just open your eyes to what is right before you.
(P.S. All photos in this post by Jeff!)