I Left My Stress in San Francisco

(Blogpost #1, Anchor Bay, California-05.09.16)

We cut the urban cord and moved a year ago, three hours north of San Francisco. Where the northernmost part of Sonoma fades into the southernmost part of Mendocino.  The two counties connected by a simple steel bridge over the Gualala River. This stretch of coast that locals call Mendonoma.

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mendonoma sunset

I had concerns. So did friends and family. Highway 1 which we are dependent upon for 47 miles north or south of us resembles a stretched-our Slinky. Critters have a relay race across the road after dark. Airports with big planes and important non-stop destinations are three hours away. No Whole Foods. No Starbucks. No local hospital.

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Grocery shopping, filling the gas tank, getting prescriptions filled take strategic planning. Costco makes more sense now with six packs and three packs of packaged, canned or bottled goods.

During the day, Billy is in his studio or production shed working on zines.  I am back-and-forthing from Point Arena to Gualala integrating with the community, taking woof! on daily chores. Exploring pocket beaches. Time at  KGUA.  Time to write.

An easy dinner around our kitchen table happens organically.  Perhaps greens from the garden with rice or simple salad.  Then a Netflix or HBO binge hour. We split a cookie or a single chocolate bar. Woof! is down, his snout on his paws on the sofa we said he couldn’t go on when we got him last year. Other than the breeze you cannot tell if the windows are open or closed.

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our backyard

Woof! runs through the open door into the front yard weaving through redwoods to chase his ball. We  look out the windows and see the canyon below us. To the right, the expanse of the Pacific. Birds swoop at eye level. Sea lions bark. Morning doves sing. Ravens change their voices. During whale migration we can spot a vertical spray out in the distance. Wind whispers and shouts. A green hammock, loaned to us from my daughter, hangs within a cluster of trees. Fog puts on a slow motion show. People smile and look familiar. No matter the differences, one thing is shared–this place.

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front yard

Our mailing address is actually the address of a stack of mail boxes between Deanne’s Blue Canoe coffee shop and the neighborhood real estate office. The mailman, Rod, does not deliver to the individual houses. Matt, the UPS guy does. Sometimes, Barbara will hold a package for us at her Anchor Bay General Store.  She orders vegetarian brands we like. Cooked bacon is ready for my mother-in-law every Monday. Barbara went up to our house when we were out of town to bring ice-cream.

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It takes awhile to realize that the options here are not limited. The choices are not fewer. They are just different. Ice cream choices are limited to coolers at the market. The farmers market may have eight kiosks on a good harvest week, five months a year. Run out of milk after 9 p.m. means waiting for the next day. Urgency is now defined as something needed within a 48-hour period if you have Amazon Prime. The common response is, “That’s the way it is up here but look around!”

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front yard to belly

veggie garden

There is honor here. Appreciation. Nature invited us in and allowed us to trespass into her folds, her magic.  People from afar, anything over 50 miles ask, “How about those rains I hear about?  Are you guy’s okay?  All those fallen trees. No power. Closed roads. Must be crazy.”

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point arena lighthouse

I say, “Uh, huh.”

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bowling ball beach at low tide

Nature performs here. By choosing to live here she gave us backstage passes and lets us participate. I respond back to my concerned circle. “Remember, that eclipse of the blood moon? We watched it from our backyard for two hours.”

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what we see

I met Peggy Berryhill, General Manager of KGUA, Gualala at Cook’s Beach. Actually, our dogs met first. Peggy and I share similar passions and history. Now, several hours a week I contribute my time  to KGUA, 88.3 FM. KGUA is the perfect radio station for our community. The station spreads the voices of our community in the same way the air around us spreads it’s magic. Peggy’s smile is easily imagined each morning on her show, Peggy’s Place. Her smile can be the smile of the community.

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peggy berryhill

KGUA inspired me to write this blog. Focus on where we live. How we came here. What we do here. It’s a soundbite of life up here.  What we find. What we witness. Who we meet. What we learn. What we do. How we live.

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my guys.  billy and woof!

It’s not about what goes wrong when you chose to live remotely but what goes right!

Next Up:  OZ