I landed in the fiery heart of an explosive crisis in his life, but one thing that nursing and 10 years of serious illness have taught me is, other people’s crises are not mine. It frees me up to have all the empathy in the world, without losing my own balance. (Much… :-))
Our idyllic excursion into nature with nothing much to do has turned into … an idyllic excursion into nature with nothing much to do, but a lot more to talk about.
We wound up at Black Butte Country Store and Camping, …
|The store as you approach through the intersection.|
…run by his old pals Tom and Margie, a charming and hospitable couple who came up from the East Bay – so they know damn well they’re onto a really good thing here. Margie’s smile just won’t quit, and that kind of says it all.
We’re at the juncture of Black Butte and the Middle Fork of the Eel River, a far corner of a protected and remote swathe of the simple life called Round Valley.
|This phone is getting old, but it still shows how blue the sky is.|
We’re in the shadow of the Mendocino National Forest, recently the site of a huge wildfire. You can see where the charring and scarring stop at the top of the hill right across the street. A huge sign in front of the store thanks the firefighters in letters over a foot high.
|Everyone here is REALLY fond of the fire service now.|
There’s very little cell signal (neither JC nor I get phone-joy), only a few radio stations come through at all, and the only wifi is at the store run by the campground owners, a 5 minute walk from the site. This is a huge bonus: the low levels of EM radiation are letting me cope with the stress and the dietary compromises perfectly well.
|Good for neurons and what they control.|
I even drank half a soda yesterday, and hardly felt a thing… In other times and other places, I’d have paid for that for 3 days. At least.
The grill (closed on Wednesdays) serves fresh local natural beef and incredible salads. Really good greens with just enough dressing and the lovely smokey meat of your choice. The convenience store is pretty small, but the coolers are packed with everything from coconut water through Naked juice to conventional sodas all the way to the rankest beer you’d hate to find.
They’re perfectly happy to make me a gluten-free sandwich wrapped in that lovely lettuce.
|You can’t see the sandwich, which covered the whole plate, cuz I ate it.|
On our first night, the full moon rose directly over our feet, waking us both out of our first doze to stare at the radiant spot on the tent wall in bleary wonder for at least a minute, wondering who turned on such a damn great light at that hour. JC finally stuck his head out and told me what it was, and we both had to laugh.
The air is absolutely pure. Each evening, the spotless sunset gets punctuated by exactly one contrail, a screaming streak of orange across a melting sky of peach, green and sixteen shades of blue.
Since the moon rises later and smaller every day (and as we get caught up on our rest, able to stay up past dark!), last night we got a full hour of gazing at the Milky Way and the million million stars I never get to see.
|Photo collage: TwTunes at www.digitalsky.com|
Casseiopea and the Big Dipper wheeled overhead with a-a-all their lovely autumn cohorts, as familiar and ever-present as old friends.
At the time of our visit, there was a breathtaking piece on show from local artist (and Santa Cruz transplant) Lynn Zachreson. The link goes to her web page but, of course, online photos can’t do justice to her brush control, delicate textural discrimination, or authoritative use of color. Look her up; it’s worth it.
There’s a gorgeous swimming hole a few minutes’ walk up the pike, sinking deep around great boulders of white chalcedony. Healthy-sized fish nibble your legs if you hold still long enough, and the water is perfect on one of these bakingly hot afternoons.
|The water is a lot bluer once you’re in.|
JC says the weather can change in a minute here (this old New Englander reserves judgement) but we’ve had a glorious run of unseasonably hot, clear weather with deliciously cool, clear nights.
This illness is hugely responsive to nutrition, air quality, and man-made radiation. In most far-flung places, the produce is dodgy and tends to look (and taste) second-hand; you can’t get good food and good air waves without a lot of advance planning and a huge cooler.
This place was a total find, and for those of you who really care about things like air, food and EM smog, it doesn’t get much better than this. Especially at these prices.
It’s absolutely outstanding.
And you can bring your horses! There’s a black and a bay here who’ve kept us endlessly amused.
Being around JC has always knocked back my pain and increased my strength since we first met, before we ever thought of getting together. He’s obviously got his own electrical field or something. Between his company and the clear and deliciously benevolent environment here, I’m stronger after a few days than I’ve been in some weeks.
I’d thought of this as a side-trip to squeeze in, before I got on with my serious healing junket… but it’s looking like an ideal start, instead. I wound up landing on my feet, and I am grateful.