Below the enormous bay tree, beneath lush sword ferns, spring water seeps through black muck and trickles into a small pool. When we were camping on the land, we refrigerated salsa, mayonnaise and chardonnay there. These days, the spring feeds into a small tank and a solar-powered pump pushes water up to 2,000 gallon holding tanks. We monitor water carefully and hope enough oozes out of the earth to help us through another season of drought.
When we first moved here, winter and spring seasons brought 108 inches of rain. Now, after scant winter rains, we have red flag warnings in early May. The dry season is upon us.
During summer and fall, we’ll conserve water for gardens and essential washing. What haunts us, though, is the possibility of dry lightning and wild fire. Like many Californians, most of us have been evacuated more than once.
So far, the risk of losing everything in a fire storm does not outweigh the importance living in wild lands. Like most folks out here, we have fallen crazy in love with forests, meadows, wild life, and starry skies. The longer we are here, the more we want to stay.
As the moon wanes, dark skies open the view of the splendid cosmic connection wrapping around our dreams.
However, I don’t want to give an idealized impression of country living.There are drawbacks. Something always needs to be fixed. After living here 17 years, we’ve painstakingly replaced almost every piece of infrastructure. The goblin of exasperation, impatience, and disappointment lurks, but we learn to be resilient.
Mountain lions, rattlers, scorpions and poisonous spiders teach us to pay attention. Danger is everywhere, but that is also true in towns, cities and on every road to everywhere.
All in all, we feel extraordinarily lucky to live out here. After a day’s work, we can hardly wait to stagger into bed at night. Then, the next day, once again birds lift our spirits.
When fire season rolls around, even though we’ve weed-whacked and hard-scaped our dwellings, fear of dry lightning’s fire storms puts us on high alert. We are anxious. You’d think we would be at our wit’s end. BUT WAIT! See the next story …