Remember when I wrote about Oroville? And how I left? Well I'm finally going to tell you where i've gone. I've moved to Paradise.
Yes, there really is a town called Paradise, and i live here now. It's not far from Oroville, but it's quite different. it is still a small, sleepy California town. it has the same mountain-y characteristics of my Tahoe youth - pine needles for days, large boulders jutting from the earth, crisp air, blue skies. but it still has fruit trees and oak trees and wildflowers; though I am above the valley, slight traces of it survive. On the wikipedia page it reads:
"The town of Paradise is spread out on a wide ridge which rises between deep canyons on either side."
These deep canyons are part of my every day landscape - breathtaking and beautiful. If i drive down the hill to Chico, the canyon rides with me the whole way.
I ended up in Paradise thanks to a blessed alignment of moments and connections, it was laid before me like a kindly-prepared meal: you will live here, next, the universe seemed to say. This was a relief, as I wasn't quite sure where I would go, exactly.
And so, here I am. Have you been here before? Paradise is small and quiet and seems to have the most thrift stores per capita of any place I've been. it's wonderful. i recommend a thrifting trip here if you ever have a reason to come this way.
I feel like this is a haven for me right now...the energy is softer, down the street is a store that sells organic food, local almond butter, local eggs. i can rest here, beneath the giant trees that surround me; the temperature is cooler up here, the air is cleaner. driving down to the valley, the smog looms before me; a brownish haze made even murkier by the increased heat.
really i kind of love it here. who would have thought?
This is the sign that greets you when you arrive:
Do you see the halo??
My adventures continue to unfold. In Paradise, I feel softer and safer, in many ways. though in others, i feel less certain: I am not sure what lies ahead, what will come next, what will be after this. Here we are on the very precipice of summer, the heat is already full and deep; as is so often the case, the only thing i really know is motherhood; it is this that is my anchor and my devotion. the rest follows in suit. what do i want? where do i want to be? what will i do? what is in my heart, and how do i follow it?
Do you recognize these questions?
this strikes me as an important issue:
It's so true - just one, so wild and so precious. So little time we have for things that do not feed our spirits, that do not nurture our hearts. It seems that to spend time with people who don't lift us up is ridiculous. politeness and obligation be dammed - there is only room for what we love, for what makes our hearts sing. sometimes our hearts sing great songs of joy, and sometimes they sing songs of tragedy, of a sadness so profound that it can only be conveyed in heart song because words will not suffice. either way, this is what we must live for. this is what we must work for: to be able to have the highest level of things-that-feed-us in our daily life. however this looks, however we can accomplish it, this is our most demanding task....and it is also an important lesson that we must teach our children. how to know this, to seek this, to create this.
sometimes i get nervous, blogging about my uncertainties - sharing them here. like telling you i live in Paradise but that i want to leap forth to a place yet unknown. that my journey is not always clear, not guaranteed. but then i think, what if there is a woman out there who feels the same way? what if it would comfort her to read this?
it is this that compels me, ultimately, to share (as best i can in this forum) authentic stories. because this is how we find each other, this is how we understand ourselves.