They say that silence is golden. Perhaps it is when all you want to say is how miserable you feel. I realize I’ve been silent for a long time, and it’s not that I don’t have anything to say, I just didn’t know how to say it. The purpose for this blog is to share life experiences and lessons so that humans can relate to each other and find a way through it together. It’s easy to get stuck in trying to wrap the moral up into a perfect bow and until you know the answers, sharing pain feels shameful and difficult. At any rate, winter is leaving and spring has sprung and today is my birthday! I think it’s time to get writing again…
It’s been over a year since I moved here to the Sierra foothills. I still don’t know if I like it here. Of course it’s beautiful, but it’s taken me longer to connect to this place than I had expected. In my 20’s I spent a semester in Humboldt County. My love of forests greatly expanded at the site of old growth redwoods. I didn’t know nature could make you feel like that. While there, I spent most of my time hiking than in class, but it was an education that continues to fuel and inform my soul. From there on, when I dreamed of “living in the woods” – I dreamt of coastal redwoods.
Now that I’ve been able to settle a little bit in my new wooded home, I would say this year has been a little less than euphoric. It’s actually been pretty brutal. Both the beauty and curse of living in nature, is that she is a beast and will always win. The remoteness and isolation of my location has taught me a lot about myself. The weather and mother nature’s wrath have certainly taught me to dig deep and find my true grit for survival. Life’s chores living out here are certainly more intense, and one is forced to learn how to find ongoing motivation without any accountability or encouragement from a partner or community.
Sure, it’s not always rainbows in paradise, but I exalt how fortunate I’ve been to be able to do this journey, and experience something most people cannot do until retirement. It is certainly harder than what I expected, as I was not counting on not being able to find a community here. I knew the people would be different, and that I would have to be open-minded, but the logistics of living in a retirement/vacationer community and being a younger full time working gal don’t really jive.
So, I watch a lot of Netflix and make a lot of sweaters and try to hike on weekends near Yosemite (the best part of living here!). Along my streaming journey I stumbled on a documentary about the history of rock climbing in Yosemite. The guys (and a few gals) who conquer their fears and contort their bodies into the tiniest of cracks and crimps to achieve a relentless goal for no real apparent reason except it feels good, has blown my mind. There is something about people who really push themselves (see: Free Solo) to be elite athletes in obscure sports that I find so inspiring. At a time when I feel achingly lonely and depressed sometimes, learning about what’s possible just down the road from me has offered the spark I needed to snap out of it.
I don’t know if I can actually do rock climbing, but at the very least it has inspired me to remember why I’m here. I came to conquer my fears, and to invest in my dreams of living in the woods in a sustainable house in a place that I love and feel hugged by nature every day. Going after your dreams is never easy, or everyone would do it. So I persist.
What breaks my long suffering silence now, on my 40th birthday, is that I realize that I cannot do it alone. My writing has always been a source of healing for me, so in the absence of an immediate community, I must write to share the good with the bad and to seek out help when it’s needed. Perhaps there is a little shame that goes along with making this big move and not wanting to fail and come home with my tail between my legs. However, I am reinvigorated by watching the climbers which reminds and inspires me to keep fighting for my end goals. I am a fighter, and I have always landed on my feet, even if my head is in the canopy of redwoods.
I have had some amazing support from friends and family alike, and regular visitors who keep me grounded and motivated. I feel I have made it through a tough winter with the lessons of strength and perseverance at my side. I’m here to tell you that if you go for it, the tools you need will come. It won’t be easy, but don’t give up. You’re bound to learn valuable things about yourself and your place in this world. At the very least, you will learn what it is you truly want out of life, and what you don’t.
I’ll see you in the woods!