Thursday, July 02, 2009

Behind the Redwood Curtain

After a long, frantic week of socializing, visitors and tidying up the ranch, we escaped gorgeous, sunny Central California to arrive in misty, magical Humboldt.

Not only are we behind the Redwood Curtain, but shrouded in fog. We're very hidden here in Arcata, a pretty little town of fanciful Victorian architecture, colorful denizens and majestic redwoods.

I remember the greeting we got a few years ago, as we just arrived and were driving through downtown Arcata. At a stop sign, an old hippie stood in front of our truck and "flew" his glass pipe over the hood of our car. It was like a benediction.

"We're back in Arcata!" Big Dog and I laughed.

No such welcome this time, but I'm impressed with the creative men's fashions. Men in long, flowing black skirts, men in kilts and leathers, a guy with dots tattooed over his eyebrows... it used to be just flannel and dreadlocks.

Aside from the fun of being in a town that's sort of trapped in the 60's, it was also good to get away from the ranch. As much as I love it there and as much as I think it IS paradise, I've recently found myself becoming more...what? bourgeois?...when I stay there too long, much to my disgust. I'm getting way too protective of everything there. ("Don't hang your exercise equipment on the fruit trees, JD! We already lost one apple tree!" "The kids are leaving too much crap all over the place!" "Daddy McC shouldn't have called the sheriff on our neighbor! No one in this valley wants the law to show up on their property!") The Road to Satori takes a backslide.

So it's good to be here, in a completely empty house, sleeping on foam mats, having only an odd assortment of stuff left over from Big Dog's student days. Old T-shirts work well as pillowcases. Empty pie tins make decent plates.

"You guys are way minimal!" commented Big Dog's high school buddy, J., when we met him and his wife for dinner in San Francisco on our way up here.
"You guys are zen!" laughed his wife.
True, we don't have much at the ranch, at least not stuff, but I get really possessive about the trees, the hills, the land. When in fact, in this life, ownership is only an illusion. Nobody really owns anything and so thinking that you do only makes for unhappiness.

Like slack key wonder Makana said in Hawaii, "Access trumps ownership." You understand that when you let go.

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