A View from Sierra County

Small town life and politics, lots of knitting, and travels with and without my five burros

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Location: In the Sierra Nevadas, United States

I blog about rural living and social issues, and the creativity that comes from knitting, as well as post random pictures of the Sierras and my burros. "In order to be an artist, one must be deeply rooted in the society" - Simone de Beauvoir


Monday, May 23, 2005

A Wealth of Friends

I am not a rich person, in fact, probably barely considered middle class here in the United States. However, I have treasures of the heart that are far greater to me than a bigger, better house, fancier clothes, or more yarn.

Living in a rural place means doing without lots of things I really like, such as art galleries, book stores, and yarn shops. I have mentioned before that the nearest yarn fix is over a half hour away, and only arrived in such proximity a year ago. However, living in a rural place gives a connectedness that just can't be achieved in cities. I see the same 100 or so people throughout the weeks, and now over nineteen years of living here. New ones move in, some of the old ones move away, and, sadly, several have died over that time. Each triumph is shared, and each tragedy felt as if it was your own.

Saturday, I especially got to appreciate the wealth of friends I have here. My (grown) daughter, Nikki, and I attended a bash my dear friend Feather and her extended family, Anne and Pete (and their blended family of eight children, assorted spouses and numerous grandchildren) were throwing to celebrate Feather's son Sage's 30th birthday. There was a large gathering of people, and a grand time was had in the spring sunshine that has finally begun to favor us here in the Sierras. When it came time for toasting the birthday lad, Feather recounted some of the story of his birth, way back up one of our river tributaries, in a tiny miner's cabin. The weather was almost as unseasonable as what we had last week, and her friend, Pat, had to send out for a four-wheel drive vehicle to fetch the midwife in for the birth. Pat then began to have labor pains of her own. My friend, neighbor and co-worker, Cheryl lived on the same stream as well (before she moved to Forest City where she lived when I first moved to Sierra County, and does once again). Cheryl had a toddler at the time, and told of the hand-clenching labor support she provided.

Many rough and tough young men of the age of 30 would find this talk very embarassing, but Sage reflects the kind of young person that grows out of close-knit community. When it was his turn to speak, he told stories of the grown-ups shooing him and other kids out to play so they could have their time together, and now, he was doing the same thing to the next generation of "young-uns". He also spoke about how special it was to have many of the same people from his childhood present at this birthday occasion.

I caught up on two former high school students, and Anne pointed out how fabulous my own daughter has turned out; several of her preschool charges were in attendance and immediately glommed onto her, their "big person" friend in the community. It was wonderful to see the maturity of these three young women, and the strength they will bring to the next generation. One former student, Emily, just graduated from CSU, Humboldt and accepted a job as a botanist for the Forest Service in Quincy, where Jenn lives. She shared photos of the multi-generational trip she had taken a month ago to visit the rare wildflower bloom in Death Valley with two of the other party attendees. We are lucky not to be locked into an age-consciousness about who we enjoy life with.

Cheryl and I discussed this morning how we felt the glow of loving friends all throughout the day yesterday, and how lucky we felt, in spite of the adversity of the past year (Cheryl is also being cut to half-time; for more details of our school district's economic woes, check this January explanation and my May post).

Yesterday Nikki and I drove over to Lake Tahoe to check on son Cody and see how his recovery is going. He can now put on his own shoes and socks! This is a pretty major increase in flexibility, and he has started therapy. We went to lunch in Incline Village, then headed to Truckee to look for Jimmy Beans Wool (aren't they great kids, humoring me like this?!). They had searched once before, while Nikki was taking Cody to his post-op checkup (for those that don't know, my son broke his femur in four places 5 weeks ago, spent 3 1/2 weeks with us and learned to knit - again). They couldn't find it, even though Cody is a local, but humored me and went along. Luckily, Jenn had just posted a photo of her visit a few weeks ago, and I thought I had recognized the building... I guessed right. The shop is rather small and located in the old railroad depot.

They have A LOT crowded into a small space, and even though I didn't buy much yarn, I did find a book I have been trying to buy (from a local yarn shop, and NOT online) for over four months, Last Minute Knitted Gifts. I had wanted to make the felted yoga bag for my stepdaughter, Amy, whose birthday is in July. We all had to browse through the book and Nikki and Cody each found a sweater that they want me to make for them, as well as several cute items they thought I should make for Amy's daughter, baby Mia. So this book will be getting a lot of use!

I tried to be considerate of the fact that Cody is still hobbling around on crutches, but was lingering over lots of Rowan, GGH, and Annie Blatt yarns. Cody decided to sit on a convenient stepstool and fell into conversation with the clerk. She suggested that he could learn to knit too, so that it would be more interesting to visit yarn shops, to which he proudly replied that he already knew how, and was about 2/5ths of the way through his scarf!

I guess Nikki was feeling a little left out. She decided to have me re-teach her, so that she could knit up some flowers to felt in a cute little Flowers to Go kit. Cody will be providing me pictures to post later today (his camera is better, and I had forgotten mine).

We also visited the local bookstore to find more reading material for him. He thanked me for not tagging him with the book meme, saying he would have been embarrassed to have me read his responses. A very physically active person by nature, he has been able to expand his reading horizons while laid up, and picked two philosophy books and a BMX mag (next question for the physical therapist will be "How soon can I return to riding a bike?"). I tagged Marguerite Louise instead, so go and read her interesting answers.

In further updates, I went home and worked more on my felted duffel bag, now about 2/3rds of the way done. I also wanted to update everyone on my job situation and thank my e-friends who have sent along notes of encouragement in the past few weeks. I met with the Executive Director of our local clinic, Western Sierra Medical and Dental Clinic in Downieville, on Friday and he hired me to serve as his Administrative Assistant (fancy-schmantzy title). I will be doing grant writing and monitoring, and a host of other things to help our small non-profit clinic continue to provide 24 hour services in a county with only 3,165 people. Should be fun and interesting. I will still be able to teach half-time at Downieville High, and my principal there is working with me to try and add a fourth period, in Cultural Anthropology, funded by our community college, Lassen College.

This has been a somewhat lengthy update, especially since there aren't even pictures! I am going to close by encouraging you to read Margene's blog regularly. She is a fellow knitter, mountain dweller and Zen practitioner (although the last is harder for me to lay claim to; in discussing religion and philosophy yesterday with my children, I admitted that I have a hard time accepting that any one dogma has the mainline to the Truth). Margene also provides beautiful photos of the Utah mountains which should not be missed.

Blessings to all!


Blogger margene said...

That was quite an update and it's good to hear your son is doing much better. It's hard when you are active to sit back and allow the body its time to heal.
It's the dogma that will get you. There is no dogma in Zen...it just is.
How wonderful you have a job...new doors open.
It's all good.

11:24 AM  
Blogger FaeryCrafty said...

What a wonderful story of your friends and community. I have often dreamed of small town life like that :)

5:29 PM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Small town life is really good. You know that in times of trouble you can always pick up the phone and a friend will be knocking on your door in a few minutes. (Or you can go next door and be welcomed with opened arms).

It is lovely reading about small town life as I moved to the city almost 7 years ago.


12:57 AM  
Blogger Cathy said...

Thanks for dropping in on my blog again. I like it when other bloggers leave nice comments so that you know that someone is at least reading my blog.

The small town we used to live in was called Zeehan on the west coast of Tasmania. We used to have to travel 1 1/2 hours north to the theatre or 3 1/2 hours south.

At least in the city all the services are at hand and you don't need to drive a long way to get to them.


3:42 PM  
Anonymous Stephanie said...

It's really, really wonderful to read about people genuinely investing in kids (with people and time, not money) and having it pay off.
It gives me hope that our families idea that "People before things" will turn out some pretty great individuals.
Thanks for being inspiring today.

6:14 AM  
Blogger Chord of Three Strands said...

We are on the verge ofowning a house that is more 'out'. It is on 5.3 acres and there really isn;t ANYTHING close. Well, not like here, wehere I can get almost anywhere in under 15 minutes and many stores, libraries, etc are around 5 minutes or less. It'll be quite a change, but I do look forward to the new way of life.

Sounds like a very nice get together!

Maybe you can teach me to knit, too.

8:10 AM  
Anonymous caroline said...

Hi, chica,
Margene sent me. Your blog is lovely and makes me pine for northern Californi. I lived there briefly in the early 70s. Anyway, I have knitted a few things from Joelle Halvorsen's Last Minute Knitted Gifts and wanted to warn you of a couple things. First, be sure to go to her webpage for the MANY corrections to the patterns. Second, everyone that's knit the sweater has found her yarn requirements to be severely understated by at least one and maybe 2 balls of yarn. I'm doing one in Noro Silk Garden and bought 3 extra balls and it looks like I'll be using them all up. So, word to the wise. Once you get the corrections everything goes well, though. Best of luck with the projects!

9:14 AM  

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