Birds Fly Over the Rainbow

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.

Got her party dress on. Heading to the Gravenstein Apple Fair in Sebastopol.

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.).

Poor Man’s Whiskey.

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.




Can you guess what they’re looking at?

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.”.



We want it and it’s just out of reach.

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.


The sweet life.

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.


12 thoughts on “Birds Fly Over the Rainbow

  1. i don’t know your back story for why you won’t leave the bay, and i respect that it must be a big deal for your family. my heart goes out to you in this dilemma. so i gotta say that i felt similarly at one time, but when the pressures & stresses of life’s situations weighed so heavily on me, i eventually said f it & moved anyway, in spite of my fears. it turned out to be the 2nd best scary decision i’ve ever made {1st was deciding to keep my baby}. please know you are always welcome to visit us in portlandia for a change of scenery. your fern looks so much like my esme. it would be a real treat to see them play together! & a real treat to show you around the pac nw delights. xo!

    1. thank you anjie! it isn’t fear holding us back, but our commitment to be near fern’s brother leo and also our financial situation. i might be more willing to say fuck it, but this is a decision being made by two of us. šŸ™‚ but you are an inspiration, and i will take your faith in the courage to make the leap. i hope we are as lucky as you someday. xo

  2. You write so beautifully (it’s touching and so honest), and your photography sits along side so snugly; what about move to the woods and write a column about it? Set up a little country b&b for people to come ‘experience’ your story? Go on do it šŸ˜‰ xx

  3. Something will come of this. Something will fall into place. Or perhaps many things over a longer period of time. But you will find what your heart is yearning for. Not sure why I’m bent on writing this right now, but it’s typing itself, so here it is.
    I remember seven years ago living in a little apartment in Berkeley across the bay and deciding that it literally felt like we were living in a maze (ironic as to our proximity to the “maze”) with a bunch of mice all running amok in search of their dreams. Some ran so fast they passed up the dream but were able to fabricate something that looked rather dreamy…kinda. Others were barely scraping by. That was us. I looked around and felt like although this had worked for the us that was the two of us for so long…it did not meet my dreams for my then-first-babe.
    Even though my love of the bay area is huge, we finally decided to part with it. But the path meant following a whole new everything as my love found his career. At first reluctantly.
    Now we live in beauty…but find ironies everywhere. We’re surrounded by nature in its fullest, all the stuff that makes my heart swoon and soul free…but also by pot farms galore, illegal and home-based. And with it, rat poisons, excessive water draws off the once gorgeous rivers, neighbors who don’t want to know us due to our ranger status…and my least favorite wild pits running free and hungry after harvest time…into our yard at any moment. And well, it’s all very interesting. And ironic.
    Everything is mixed. Everything. And you will find your peaceful spot with its honey and bee stings. And eventually it will be outside of that glorious city there. I just know it. And it’ll all work at that moment. In the meanwhile you should remember that you are showing that beaming sprite of yours the magic of speaking to nature that surrounds you all when you’re in the city, on the outskirts, or in the “real deal.” She is learning it because your love for everything that surrounds you must be as evident to her as it is to anyone reading your blog. Hugs and thinking of you.
    PS Doing the blessedherbs full cleanse in search of a base point to work better with the PMD and finding it to be a wonderful physical-emotional-you-name-it reset to many different areas in my life I felt stuck in.

  4. i think it’s really beautiful that you guys are putting Leo’s need to be near you guys so high on your priority list. so often i hear the total opposite of this. i just wanted to let you know i think you guys are kick ass for that. so many people would totally say fuck it and take off and do their thing wtith no concern for the kids involved and it’s awesome that you guys aren’t doing that.

  5. Oh Lady… I hear and feel yr pain. I’m in much the same situation here, although rents aren’t quite as high they’re working their way sky high from what they once were… you are in my thoughts these days. moving and finding the right place is so difficult anyway, throw in some moneybags competition galore and it just super sucks! I LOVE Sebastapol. I lived in Monte Rio a few seasons and it was one of the most magical places ever. that area is so special!! I dream of it still. sending you peace, strength & luck my friend!! xo m

  6. oh mary, you of all people deserve so fully to feel the dirt and wild stars under your skin on a daily basis, to raise your children with a garden and eagles and woodsmoke and country lanes. my heart just leaps and begs for this to somehow happen for you. please, wilds of petaluma-land, open up for these wonderful people!!! all my friends who live in the city have similar longings, and there are similar obstacles to leaving (mostly due to partnerships/marriages with lovely people who are somehow tied to the city) and my heart just goes out to those who share this dilemma. someday you’ll have to meet my friend carolann. she is the most countryish country girl and she lives smack dab in the city with her wonderful musician husband ezra. they want to start having children soon and she faces the overwhelming decisions that go along with raising them, and her dreams mirror yours for sure. don’t give up!!! i feel it in my bones. something beautiful is waiting for you.

    we camped near a french family with two children in yellowstone. it was uncanny how much they reminded me of you four, seriously. the husband looked exactly like jeff, the blond little girl looked so much like fern! it was crazy. and made me feel kinda homey šŸ™‚ sending you tons of peace and love and good homey energy.

  7. ugh. i am sorry you are stuck in the bay… i know it is shangri-la for lots of people, but i felt so incredibly dispossessed the entire 5 years i lived there. i am working right now on manifesting some goals/dreams too, and last night rich listened to me worrying them out loud until finally he told me, “don’t force it. let it come to you. it’s all going to work out just fine.” which coming from him didn’t sound trite or make me angry like it would from almost anyone else. i knew he meant that he loves me, doesn’t want me to spend energy on worry, and wants me to be happy. one thing i can say for sure is that you should still write it because it isn’t hurting any of us to read it, but i know it can hurt to keep some stuff like that inside.

    for which fern in that dress and that haircut looking at those bubbles must be just the right tonic. she’s amazing.

  8. i’m thinking of you. the mystery of the how and why, and why nots, is so slow to reveal itself sometimes. most times. the flatness, it’s fertile ground often. it too takes a shit load of time to reveal what it’s working on, all that underground work. we just keep breathing, and there’s no doubt there’s important work happening underground. just for us, and our growth, and strength. love. sending a warm loving supportive hug, sister.

  9. your soul has never been compromised,

    there will always be that fire
    of conscious and compassion,
    and that pinching discomfort

    as you dream of that place where one relaxes deeply.

    (i think maybe i’m just talking to myself.)

    you do it so well, though, rooting near the wild, and communing with her.
    you’ve never forgotten.

    you articulate it so deeply and clearly, i can only hope to communicate and process the way you can.

    practice, i suppose.

    i’m sorry about google doing that complicated stuff to non-start-up types, the folk.

    i’m sorry.

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