I'm not completely away from civilization by my standards, but it is about 20 minutes into the nearest town of Boulder Creek. You have to go two miles on a dirt road to even get to the paved road. I know those of you out the creek roads back home in Cambria know this feeling.
Not that Cambria is all hustle and bustle — although for some time I’ve wondered if it was getting too big for me (me, from L.A.). I’ve a little over a week to see how it feels.
Five days in and I’ve already gone into town two times, the first time to get a quick look-see of my environs and groceries and the second time all the 45-minute way to Santa Cruz to go thrift shopping.
No, that’s not what one may normally do when trying to disconnect. But, what is the point of this trip? Not necessarily to “do without” altogether, but perhaps even less than I even do without now (which is a lot — by choice). And more remote and in an unfamiliar locale. Without my comfort zone.
The craziest thing about silence is how noisy it is!
I’m not just talking about the ringing in my ears, but the tick of the clock, the buzzing bees, the wind in the trees — oh, and the special refrigerator because they’re on solar here. Plus the light-jet route we seem to be under and, of course, the two goofy dogs (they’re actually the quietest thing during the day!).
It’s the conversations in my head that are loudest under these circumstances. Don’t worry, it’s not like the voices. Without any particular obligation other than to walk the dogs and water the garden, my discussions are about practical things, like how much human contact do I really need, how the heck do folks survive in these little communities, and how long would a little Toyota with almost 200,000 miles last on these dirt roads? Stuff like that.
One of the most pressing thoughts I’ve ever had with regard to even consider leaving Cambria would be if I could ever find/establish such a huge sense of “community” as I have come to love. That was likely my main motive for venturing into town these couple of times, to kind of get a feel for the spirit of the place.
I didn’t encounter any weird vibes; in fact, everyone seemed quite friendly (despite the jokes my friend whose house I’m sitting made in reference to meth heads). I realize that one needs to walk with one’s heart and mind as open as their eyes and ears, but this was my experience.
So, there were a number of motives for volunteering to housesit for my pals. One was to be truly alone with my thoughts and practice meditating (despite having access to satellite, cell phone — which I’ve gotten numerous messages on — solar power and good well water; not to mention proximity to “civilization”).
Secondly was to inspire and disconnect from daily life duties enough to do some “serious” writing — I’ve done loads so far. What makes it serious? Art — I brought bunches of little stuff to be mindless with (the whole town is getting woven bracelets). I’m good with that.
Lastly, to read. I quickly finished Catherine Ryan Hyde’s “Funerals for Horses” and so picked a book off my friends’ shelf, “Loving and Leaving the Good Life.” How serendipitous. And, with all the truths I recognized therein, the biggest one is, live life with a positive purpose and bring beauty and respect and caring wherever it is you live and create the life for yourself that you desire.
Dianne Brookes column is special to The Cambrian. Email her at tiedi@ att.net, or visit her website at www.ladytiedi.com.