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


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Greetings in a Small Town

It is now a few days past the New Year celebrations, but the mood is still festive here in the small town of Downieville, where I work. The mountains surrounding us, and the two rivers flowing through make for a narrow, pedestrian-oirented town, and so everyone walks to and from their errands, and to the post office daily to get their mail. The county courthouse is located here, adding to the pool of friends to meet on the day's rounds.

I realized today that we are all in the habit of greeting each other with a "Happy New Year" when passing on the sidewalks, for at least the first week of each new year. Perhaps it is that the sun was finally showing for the first time in two weeks, but the greetings were flying fast and furious, particularly during the noontime, when I walked to the bank and post office, and picked up a cup of homemade soup at the grocery. I must have been greeted by at least a dozen acquaintances, also receiving greetings in return as they passed down the streets. Does this happen in other towns? I suspect it is more common where people already know each other, and where they walk past each other.

However, greeting in the new year is also a symbolic gesture of hope, as we continue to arise in deep darkness, and finish our days as dusk is descending. It is a reminder that the sun has truly turned around and the daylight is gaining minutes over the darkness with each passing day. Every time we shout out a "Happy New Year" to a friend or neighbor, we are reaffirming that new life is returning to the cold earth, and that spring will come again, and that we have the optimistic spirit to believe in new beginnings for ourselves as well.

My new beginning has been to start the online orientation for a post-graduate program in early childhood education that I will be taking over the next year and a half through Pacific Oaks College. I have taken several college courses online already, as well as a few from Barnes & Noble University, a shawl class through Needlecraft University (they are offering a Bohus sweater class in January), and most recently, the Shetland Lace Workshop from the EZasPi list. I feel pretty adept at online learning, but must of course prove it to the college by completing this first course over the next two weeks. In February, I will begin my first "real" course, titled Writing Our Stories (sounds like me, eh? :)... which looks at the importance of documentation along with the importance of each teacher understanding their own stories in preparation for helping others develop theirs. I am looking forward to it, and hope to teach early childhood classes to adults along the road I am taking.

The other new beginning has given me more trepidation... we are merging our center's operations with our regional Resource and Referral Agency, who will take over the fiscal responsibilities, allowing us to concentrate on caring for the children and educating them without financial worries (or at least that is the optimistic premise). Things weren't really ready, but the new year turned anyway, so I am spending the week "working out the bugs" and sleeping restlessly as I process my worry and attention to detail. Keep good thoughts for me.


Blogger Carole said...

Good luck with the new classes!

4:10 AM  
Blogger margene said...

We finally have a clear day here, too. It does bring new hope but more than that, last night I could tell the day was longer! It actually light at 5:00!
Good luck with the classes and the changes. I will keep good thoughts.

8:35 AM  
Anonymous eva said...

It's so nice to hear that the sun is shinning everywhere in California trying to dry us all out. Very nice feeling to feel the sun on my face instead of rain. We have a house in Greenville, the same town as A Room Full of Yarn. Yes, I'm spoiled having Cheryl right there with all her glorious yarns! It's been quite wet up there, not even getting snow until last monday.

Our house in Greenville is our weekend home, and someday soon we'll be able to move there full time. I can't wait!!! Not that we're chock full on monies that we can afford to have a "weekend home," though. During the week we live on a sailboat in Sausalito. Very nice, but after 10 years, it's nice to spread out and take a bath!

I work in Sausalito at the Center for Child & Family Studies, which is the program that runs The Program for Infant/Toddler Caregivers (PITC). We have worked with Pacific Oaks for many years as well as having one of their professors a faculty member. I was very excited to read that you are starting to attend classes there in Early Childhood Education.

I thought about what you said wondering if folks greeting each other is just a small town thing or not. Living both in a small rural town (every weekend) as well as a large city (weekdays), has given me the opportunity to see things from both sides of the coin. But as far as greetings go, everyone says hello, which is nice. Even though Sausalito is a city just across the bridge from a very large city (San Francisco) we still have a small town feeling here. I really don't think I could live in a place where people aren't friendly.

Now in Greenville, everyone is friendly there, waving to each other and stopping and truly caring about how you are and how you are doing.

I've been through Downieville several times. The first time was a motorcycle ride with my husband. We decided to follow hwy 49 to see where we ended up. We stopped in Downieville to have some lunch and ran into some friends who were traveling in their RV coming back from a trip from Idaho and were heading down to Auburn to someone's party. They stopped in the same small store/restaurant to buy some pies to take with them. What a small, small world it is!

9:10 AM  
Blogger Birdsong said...

Eva, great coincidences... too bad you didn't leave a way to stay in touch. Do you think you want to buy the building the yarn shop is located in and start a new career?

8:57 PM  
Anonymous evagorman@hotmail.com said...

oh, terribly sorry. evagorman@hotmail.com

No, Cheryl asked me if I was interested, but I don't think so. I'll be a patron forevery but I'm not up for that much responsibility!

8:50 AM  
Blogger KnitNana said...

You will sail through your "changing of the guard" duties on-the-job, I'm sure! Hope all goes very well, and that your on-line college work is challenging but not so much so that you feel overwhelmed - we still want to hear from you and see your knitting!

10:40 AM  

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