We spent a lot of time in the North Bay this weekend, and I felt like a gilted lover stalking a flame that’s rejected her. Hard not to feel a bit stupid for going back, again.
There’s been a lot of demolition this summer, around Home…finding home, being at home, going home. Coincidentally (or not) we have had the original Wizard of Oz soundtrack on repeat, and more than once I have felt like Dorothy looking for rainbows in a grey Kansas sky.
My childhood home, the one we stay at when we go to Shasta County, the one that’s haunted is going to be sold. Earlier in the season, Jeff and I made a last ditch effort to hold on to it, preparing to take over the property taxes and coming up with schemes to make it work…maybe we can rent it out to someone who will work the land in a sustainable way and in exchange have a decreased rent price oh and they’ll let us come camp there when we want…? Ultimately however, my folks decided that the property is too problematic to pass on to us, mostly because of the way the property value is decreasing due to the motorcycle-gang-meth-lab that moved into the house up the hill from us. It was a long shot anyway, being able to keep it. But this is it, the final nail in the coffin of a process that started 7 years ago. At this point, it feels like the passing of a long ailing relative. Part of me weeps in grief, another part hardens in bitterness and kicks dust into the hole, muttering “Let’s put this bitch in the ground”. (I grew up in redneck country. I can say these things.).
Meanwhile, back on the ranch, we are souring as we watch the Google buses bring employees back home to the city after their day in Silicon Valley. These new tenants of San Francisco have driven up the rental prices to $2800 mo. for a one bedroom studio. This is in combination with an improving economy and a real estate boom, that is hiking up prices all over the bay. We are now only finding places we can afford two hours away. As well, landlords, being traumatized after the crash of ’08, are requiring impeccable credit. Which we don’t have. Also, if you look at my astrological birth chart, I am currently under multiple transits that spell out “You’re screwed”. If you’re new on the scene here at terrallecutualism, it might seem obvious that we should just leave to greener, and cheaper, pastures. Without going into backstory, just believe me when I say that leaving the bay isn’t an option.
Shit. I’ve wanted to tell you this story without sounding like I’m complaining, but I haven’t felt like I could, so I’ve been silent for months.
I’m angry. And there’s nothing to direct it on. This is life. Shit doesn’t always work out the way you want it to, the way you NEED it to. For many people in the world, life is full of injustice and suffering, what makes me think my own life should be any different?
Our quest to find home has ripened and fallen to the sidewalk. I have let go of so much the last few years, and trained my commitment onto what I feel and think is right, at the cost of my heart. I have compromised my needs for the needs of my family. I have trusted that going back doesn’t have to be my only option. That my vision of a life in Shasta County was never a reality but just a very compelling idea. In many ways, it makes sense to stay here in the Bay…for career and lifestyle. We have hoped and prayed and envisioned and revised what would work best for our family. At this point, there’s nothing else to change without sacrificing my ability to feel my soul. I mean, yes, we could move to an apartment complex in Petaluma. They do have a pool, after all. Jeff and I considered it and finished each other’s sentences, “That could be fun…for about five minutes.”.
My daughter will be four years old in a month. She needs her own room. I need her out of the family bed. Jeff and I need to have an adult relationship again. She needs a school and even though I know this might piss some of you off, it can’t be a public one…not with their focus on iPads and standardized testing. There are charter (e.g. free) schools in the North Bay that suit our needs. We need a community, our kid needs community. I need a garden. At the very least, a fucking garden. I can’t even have a fucking container garden on our back deck anymore. I didn’t realize how much that little green space was making being in the city possible.
I recently read someone describe their emotional life as, “There’s no such thing as calm waters when you live on the high seas”. That is an incredibly apt description for the fun that is me. So while life is always challenging to navigate, the last 7 years especially were so. It has taken all my resources and I often feel like I am scraping bone. While universal timing laughs in the face of the personal, regardless, I have been chomping at the starting gate because the time is NOW. The time was four years ago. It’s just fucking TIME TO MOVE.
I rarely consider myself depressed, since anxiety is more of my sweet pal, and anxiety has this get up-n-go quality to it. But lately I have found myself feeling flat. And like what I really want to do is just lie on the bed and stare into space. At a younger age, I might have done that. But as a mommy, this is not an option. Even if I hate my life, my daughter doesn’t deserve to hate hers. This is her childhood, and I want it to be an awesome one. So I have to get up and figure out how to make it.
On Saturday we went to look at a house in Healdsburg. A cabin in the woods that was built in 1920 as a brothel (for real!). It was dreamy and I loved it so much. It would be perfect, and it is too far away. Maybe not someday, but definitely now. We don’t have a financial cushion to make a transition to something two hours from the city. But I stood in the middle of this little forest clearing and I could hear nothing but that high lonesome sound. You know the one. The wind flying through the tree tops, high above. I felt my heart and belly unclench and I listened to the landlord tell us about the wild boars he frequently sees. And the porcupines and turkeys and deer and owls and hawks. A hawk cried just then, and I remembered what it is I want. I want wildlife with my morning pancakes. I want dirt on my carrots and on my feet. I want only the sound of stars at night and the warmth of the wood stove. I want to feel my soul and I want to heal. We might not always get what we want, and I can accept that. But I can’t let go of the hope that I still might be able to make a life that is at least a slight resemblance of my heart’s desire.
In the meantime, I give thanks for functional health. For friends. For new things I’m learning and ways that I’m changing. And when I see my daughter’s face light up at the impossibility of a monster bubble, I give thanks that at least there’s that. There it is.