Sitting the Sun

Open Space by my House


My best friend texts me. "I've been snacking so much".
I text her back. "It's a mad world. It's okay."

I have a pantry full of flour, muffin mixes, secret sauces, every canned food you can think of, pasta, truffle salt, a frig and freezer full of veggies, fruit, nutmilks, miyoko butter, coconut butter, soy sauce, yum yum sauce, on and on it goes.

At lunchtime, I make a simple sandwich and sit on the porch with a glass of water watching the street for signs of life like a latchkey kid waiting for a playmate.

I sit in the sun for twenty minutes trying to zap the virus with sunbeams.

I go back inside the house. I read one sentence of news. California may run out of hospital beds by mid May.

I cut myself a major break. 

I can have as many simple sandwiches as I want sitting in the  sun while sunbeams dance and birds sing.

That's all I need and want.

It's that simple.









Rebirth

Photo I took last year (2019)
In the morning, I scan through the news. And find myself shaking my head, lost, not understanding this new world we have fallen into. Statistics and frightening stories of sickness, isolation and death flood the papers.

Across the street from me, fawns are being born, damp fur covered in dew, wild rabbits chew on sweet herbal grasses, a coyote scans the horizon, a hawk circles the sky, golden mountain lions and black bear rest in their hiding places.

Outside, my bedroom window, the sky is a faded blue like a pair of well worn jeans. I can hear a lone car rumbling to life and on the distant highway, a motorcycle speeds by.

It is spring.

A time of renewal and new life. Baby animals and blossoms. Years ago, on this day I would be a single woman in her early forties outside feeding my animals with a cup of coffee precariously positioned on a stack of hay, my dogs racing to the pond for a morning swim. Baby chicks chirping behind their mothers, my month old twin goats Fonzi and Coco jumping up and off my step ladder like it was a small mountain, the geese honking and chasing anyone in their path.

This morning, my partner in bed next to me, more than ten years later, reading me job listings in faraway places. He is readying us for another adventure while we are still living this one. He asks me to be prepared to live out of a backpack. This is easy for me. Except for comfortable clothes, reading and writing materials, I rely on few comforts.

I have lived so many lives in this one life.

Now. The adventure is a virus that swims and circles lurking about like a Great White Shark. The promise of death teaches us to respect and cherish life.

This virus is refining what is important and what is not. It seems I can hear the birds, their songs and chirps amplified, I am paying closer attention to my body, how it feels, what it needs, I am finding myself stuck in a daily routine while watching another of my lives slipping away.

It is Spring.

A time of rebirth.


Smelling the Flowers

Jasmine in a Neighbor's Garden

I am making progress coming to terms with the fact that my walks will be through Suburbia with an occasional less than quarter block step into open space. Then blocked and turned back by a temporary barrier.

All parks closed until the first of May.

I am stuck walking the sidewalk in the neighborhood during Shelter In.

This afternoon,  it took some effort to propel myself out of the house to walk through my neighborhood.  I had to push the curtains of my mind screaming "BORING!" And get on with it. I need to walk for physical and mental health especially now. A few days ago I read about one of our well known locals bursting into uncontrollable sobs when she found out the coast and all parks were closed due to COVID 19.

I totally get it. I've been crying inside for days.  

We are spoiled here with breathtaking beauty.  California coast, Redwood groves, coastal prairies, rivers, lakes, cattle ranches, sheep ranches, mayacamas mountains,  vineyards changing color with the seasons, a Mediterranean climate, outdoor cafes,  free outdoor concerts,  the list goes on. Living here, no matter how hard I work to afford it, feels like opening a present everyday. 

Today. I looked out through my window at a gloomy grey sky and picked myself up, tied on my tennis shoes and threw myself out the front door. 

I started walking the pavement trying not to feel sorry for myself. Head down, I walked right into the wisteria, inhaling, I kept going.

And then , my eyes woke up and I found the gardens. Almost every front postage stamp sized yard filled with flowers.  Blooms in every color of the rainbow.  

I stopped at a Jasmine plant crawling her way over a side fence. She smelled like sex. A fragrant sex all her own. 

I watched a neighbor lovingly guide a grape vine across a trellis. As, I turned the backside of another neighbor, her apron gathered around her,  digging a hole, a citrus tree waited by her side, ready to place his roots in the rich volcanic dirt.

Inside my heart, I praised each garden. One with a toddler sized golden buddha,  next door a patio lined with dozens of wind chimes silent ready to sing, a palm so large it looked like a dinosaur pineapple. 

I thanked the neighbors for their gift of gardening. 

For giving me hope and beauty in each step through Suburbia. 




Immune Boost

Golden Tonic 
Last time,  we were out at Jenner at the Sonoma Coast, I stopped over at the cafe and bought a small pouch of their golden tonic filled with turmeric,  immune boosting mushrooms,  spices and black pepper.  This was just days before the Shelter In order was placed.

The last few days seem like ground hog day. I get up, brew my coffee, add the golden tonic to my brew or add it later to hot almond coconut milk after my daily walk, go back upstairs with my coffee,  read the news, text friends, talk to family on the phone, do the laundry (I swear I do more laundry now then I did when I was working), scan recipes to inspire what I'm going to make for dinner, take my walk (the most peaceful time of the day), take my bath, read if I can concentrate (finishing one chapter is a success,  rereading same chapter at least half dozen times seems to be my new normal), have a snack, pick my brain trying to figure what I'm going to do for work that doesn't involve risking my life, read news, rinse, repeat.

Now. I understand why people choose to make art and craft. I wish I could go there, but I am so used to having my purpose in life intertwined with my job. My writing is my creative outlet along with taking some photos.

My joy and my hobby is going on backroads,  hiking at the coast and in the Redwoods,  birdwatching,  exploring what is around the next corner.  All of this is now on hold until the Shelter in Place orders are lifted in a month, maybe longer.  I find myself down, not feeling inspired. I know this feeling is temporary and from what I've read normal.

In a matter of two weeks I lost a job I loved and freedoms I cherish.

What to do.

Nothing.  Just allow for something to create from the space left open.

Easy to say. Hard to do.

I've been here before.

There are things happening.  Ideas and visions being birthed below the surface.  A whole new way of life and being rebirthing.

I know I can't and shouldn't try to force things to happen.  I just need to make the space so they can begin anew.


Finding Peace on my Walks






On my walk this morning,  I crossed over this bridge and listened to the birds along the creek.

I wanted to share my peaceful place with you💜

I hope it brings you peace too. I welcome your comments on my photos,  writing and videos🌷

Finding Scent in this World

Wisteria in my Neighborhood

Everyone I talked to this morning,  family and friends,  myself and my partner included stayed home all day yesterday.  Was it the weather. An overcast numbing grey day. Or the mood that matched the weather?

Yesterday, I watched pieces of a French movie and struggled through a couple of chapters of an Agatha Christie mystery which on a "normal" day off I can lose myself in.

My attention span and thinking outside of the box is both escaping me. I can only see and deal with what is front of me. Washing a dirty dish. Making a simple sandwich. Answering a text from a worried friend. Checking my dwindling bank account balance. 

This morning,  finally,  I roused myself to get up out of bed, ignore the obsession of checking the news and go out and get out of my fixed state.

The first thing, I did, was touch the wisteria tree, the  blooms fresh from the morning mist. My next door neighbor planted earlier this year. I pushed my face into the cluster of lilac blossoms inhaling the scent dreaming of walks through Victorian gardens, a book in hand, waiting for friends to arrive, conversations,  afternoon tea with sugar and dainty sandwiches. Not that I want to live that life. Only escaping into it for an hour or so.

I walked sidewalks.  Passing by a half dozen scattered people walking their dogs, dogs walking them, or dragging their dogs by harness behind them.

I found a running creek and watched the sparrows dig in the dirt. I noted the BlackBerry bushes, vibrant green winding through tree and branch to the moving water.

I found a trail. Open. With fresh bark outlining a path up through oak trees into the green hills. I walked part way and turned back, wanting to savor the rest of the way with my partner later.

How I relish the simple things. How I resist with all my body, might and mind to figure out the future. 

What is happening over there?



I am very curious to see what happens to our wild animal populations without the onslaught of people jet skiing, dirt biking, holding noisy campfires, and traipsing through the various parks in Northern California where I live.

I can see one of our Regional Parks from a block of open space near our home, but like all of us except a ranger or two, I am not allowed in.

I am happy for the animals to have peace and quiet away from us and at the same time, I miss them. And the trees. I am sure it is a healing, healthy space for the creatures on the other side of the open space without us there.

I hope when things loosen up, we can respect the wild spaces even more.

A few days ago, driving on the quiet highway by the Russian River on our way to the post office,  I saw what looked like a wood duck,  so colorful,  bobbing in the small ripples of water. It was a peaceful scene. In a couple of months, millions of tourists usually visit our County and thousands paddle and float down the river, many of them loud and drinking alcohol.  I'm sure there are locals as well.

There are many things I am looking forward to when the Shelter In order is lifted.

For now. I am grateful for the peace nature is experiencing without us.

Free Stuff


I love going to the library.  I go at least once, sometimes twice a week.  We have a great library just a couple of miles away that is well stocked with books, magazines and dvds.

At our local library,  they have a monthly book club and the chosen book is given away at no charge. In addition to the free book club choice,  they regularly give away classics like Walden.

Just a few months ago, my partner and I went to hear local author Greg Sarris who wrote the acclaimed book "Grand Ave", that was later produced by Robert Redford in a HBO mini series.  Before his talk, the library gave all 3 of Sarris's books for free, signed.

I miss the library.  All of our libraries are closed due to COVID 19.

My stack of books is dwindling.  I prefer reading what I call "real books" instead of downloaded or ebooks, but right now choices are limited.

I finally surrendered and downloaded Hoopla. Hoopla is an app that gives you access to all available movies, books, cds, etc from your local library.  For free! You just sign up and enter your library card number to register.

Last night, I downloaded three books and a movie. They have a fabulous collection of Independent and Foreign films that you can't find on Netflix.

So. Here I am. Hunkered down. Just like when I was a kid stuck in my suburban house, in my room shared with two sisters.  Back then, I found my corner, read my books and watched the birds out my window.

Nothing has changed.  Everything has changed.

Staying In


I am staying in.

No volunteering outside of the house.

I can be impulsive at times and I jumped at a chance to leave my house to volunteer without checking out my health condition thoroughly.

I just received information that the condition I have and the prescription medications I am on puts me at high risk for getting COVID 19 and possibly dying from it.

This is sobering.

So, back to house restrictions which is difficult for me for many reasons.

Out of Hibernation

Maple in the neighborhood 

With so many of us out of work, myself included,  there is a great demand for food.

If you are living paycheck to paycheck,  lose your job and don't have money put aside for groceries,  that can be extremely scary.

The Calfresh program takes several days to weeks to provide about $200 a month in food stamps via a debit card and many people do not qualify and go hungry.

It is depressing enough to lose your job let alone have an empty pantry. I have always felt a full pantry gives us a feeling of abundance and hope especially during tough times.

My partner encouraged me to leave the house, even though I have hypertension and I'm high risk, to get out and do some good.

And I agree.

So, I've signed up as a volunteer for our local food bank. My first shift is on Wednesday.

I am really looking forward to going and helping people get fed!

I will take all the precautions to protect my self.

I want to look back at this challenging time and know in my heart that I gave.




Dinner Tonight

Vegan Orange Chicken 


During Shelter In, I'm cooking all of the meals. It gives me a creative outlet and I can control what's going in my food.

For dinner, Orange Vegan Chicken with rice & veggies.

Chopped and sauteed cabbage in sunflower and sesame oil with a couple splashes of tamari sauce.

Reheated leftover rice.

In a separate pan with a little bit of sesame oil, sizzled the vegan chicken, added chopped celery, and orange sauce.

Layered everything on the plate and added fresh cilantro and chopped walnuts on top.




Practicing Empathy

Two Mourning Doves on Lamppost


I wanted to scream out "Jesus Christ Almighty " when I read the warning from our local police department informing us that they are moving from educating to enforcing "sheltering in" by citations which mean fines and possibly jail time.

Because.

People are browsing the stores, hanging out with each other, and breaking the social distancing rule.

My dad frequently used the lord's name in vain when he was pissed off at us kids being wild or at an inanimate object he was trying to force his will to fix.

Today. I am going to be frank. I'm kind of pissed off at people ignoring or pretending they don't understand the order in place that is there for all of us. So we dont get sick or pass this nasty COVID 19 around.

A few days ago, we lost all access to our city, county, regional,  state and national parks because people could not hold it together and just take a nice walk and breathe. Nope, they chose to bring alcohol,  break the 6 foot social distancing rule, cross county lines, have a barbecue party and disrespect people's space.

Totally sucks. Some people suck.

There I said it.

Now. The leash is growing tighter.

And I totally get it. My little comforts right now are far less important than someone struggling to breathe on a ventilator, a nurse risking her life on the frontlines,  and a Walmart Employee packing my list of essentials.

Barbecues can wait. My jaunt to the sea can wait.

Jesus Christ Almighty.

It's only a few weeks,  maybe months out of a lifetime.

Let's get on with it and just stay home.




Grateful

Open Space near our Home

I am Grateful 💜

to

Have a Partner
For Walks near Open Space
For a Full Pantry
For my Health
Knowing that everything is temporary
And that if I look I can find the rainbow