Haven’t written in a long time. I’ve been going through a lot of emotional hassles. After reading Passages I’ve decided I’m going through a “mid-life crisis”. I talked to Doris and she said she went through something similar at about the same age. (I wrote a description of some of the range of feelings but it’s not necessary to repeat it here—not menopause, that was years later). Was reading E.B. White’s letters and enjoying them.
Bob and the children and I went to the ranch last weekend. We had to walk from the gate (2 miles one way). He and I went out yesterday, leaving the children with Amy Crane, and hiked up the ditch grade above the ranch. It was brushy and full of logs but he cut some logs and brush out. Lots of poison oak and I have a good case of it today. Very pretty up at the end of trail although dark and damp as the canyon is quite narrow. Ferns and moss grow thickly on the rocks and there are a number of small waterfalls. Good water ouzel country. We didn’t get back until 7:30 and I’d expected to be back by 5:00.
Another thing about this “stage” I’m in is a need to have rather probing conversations with people. I feel as if I must devour books, the news, people’s thoughts. My photography has become even more important to me than before. I’m exhausted from my walks, not from the physical activity but from absorbing shapes, colors, designs, scents. As a result, by evening I’m often unkind to the family.
Bob took the children to the Cub Scout dinner last Thursday while I went to the Parent Effectiveness Training class. I’d fixed tamale pie and salad and had taken it over there for them.
Woke up to find it raining this morning! There was actually water running in the gutters downtown. Any rain at all is a help.
Bob worked on the boys’ closet this afternoon and evening. I think he is planning to finish it tomorrow.
I took the children over to Dorothy and Moon Lee’s Friday night to celebrate the Chinese New Year. I gave the Lees a photo I had taken of a fogged-in Weaverville from their driveway. We stayed for an hour and then came home. The children always enjoy the goodies and Moon Lee always gives each one a quarter in a little red envelope. Firecrackers were set off while we were there, which the boys enjoyed.
Next Wednesday Bob and I have to catch the same plane to S.F. He has to go to Dallas and I have to go to Santa Rosa.The crocuses are blooming, saw some spring beauties, manzanitas are in bud, gooseberries about to bloom and lots of pussy willows. Today I wrote letters to several people, made cookies, shoveled ashes out of the fireplace and washed the fireplace windows.
Here is an E.B. White poem
The spider, dropping down from twig,
unwinds a thread of his devising:
a thin premeditated rig
to use in rising.
And all the journey down through space,
in cool descent, and loyal-hearted,
he builds a ladder to the place
from which he started.
Thus I, gone forth, as spiders do,
in spider’s web a truth discerning
attach one silken strand to you
for my returning.
(I still love this one.)
Saturday, March 5th
Clear, beautiful day. Clarke has chicken pox. I’m not feeling very great myself; Jeff is in Quincy with Florence and Leonard; Bob is out at the ranch; and Rebecca went to Redding with a Baptist Church group. Clarke got sick Wednesday afternoon and may have been ill Tuesday. He is covered with big, itchy welts. We had to cancel nursery school Thursday because Sue Rose and kids weren’t well either.I haven’t had a walk in two weeks. I didn’t feel well when I got back from Santa Rosa a week ago and have developed a bad cough.
The trip to Santa Rosa was wearing, although the meeting was quite interesting. Bob and I both had to leave the morning of the 23rd. It was snowing and I left around 5:30. It was dark, and going up Buckhorn I actually got dizzy a few times because of the movement of the white snow coming at me. Sticking on the road near the top but no problem. I got to the airport, bought my tickets and ate breakfast. Bob arrived as I was finishing. He had eaten at home. We sat on the plane together and he walked me down to where I catch Stohl, and then left. His plane to Dallas was to leave an hour later.
Going down we flew above the clouds-big tossed piles of softness like waves of foam with peaks and valleys and shadows. Going to Santa Rosa on Stohl we went in and out of fog, which makes it a beautiful flight—, getting glimpses of the bay and hills.
I arrived in S.R. at 10:30 and then sat there till 12:30 waiting for my luggage. Jen came from the office at 1:00, took me to my motel and back to the office. We had a meeting at Rohnert Park at 4:00. It lasted until 6:45. Andrea Tuttle and I (I think I’ve not mentioned her—another woman on the board whom I liked a lot—very smart, very much up on environmental problems, and we became friends. She and her husband lived in the Eureka area but she was also going to school in Sacramento.) It was nice to not be the only woman on the board.)went back to the motel, then ate at a Hofbrau (sandwich and beer) nearby. The next day our meeting lasted until after 3:00.
I got a ride back to the motel, ate an early dinner. Got a cab at 7 a.m. Friday , ate breakfast at the airport, arrived in Redding around 11:00. Went to the Mall and got Jeff ‘s Scout book, mouse food for Rebecca’s mouse, had pie and coffee and came home. Bob got home around 8:30.
Sunday Bob took the kids and went out to the ranch to look for an old trail. They didn’t go to the ranch, just up the road on the Prairie Creek side. I did some chores and got a little rest. They found the trail and he thinks also a quarter-corner.
Showed the film “Why Man Creates” at the night class Monday. Kids had gymnastics Tuesday night. Nursery school was difficult this week. Had a good time at the Parent Effectiveness class Thursday. Mother Earth News has an article on photography this month.
Florence and Leonard went to Quincy Thursday afternoon, taking Jeffrey with them. They’ll be back tomorrow night. He was very excited about the whole thing.
Bob is putting a battery into the tractor today and will try to clear the road from the house to the gate.
Poem written at 1:00 a.m. when up with a cough.
A water ouzel’s winter song
fills the fern-flecked canyon walls
where silently it fed its young
when summer warmed the waterfalls.
The young, full-fledged, dip up and down
and hunt for food beneath the stream.
Their nest of moss, which caught light spray,
though empty now, remains unseen.
By the 18th both Rebecca and Jeff had come down with chicken pox. Rebecca had a really high fever, Jeff not so much but both very itchy.
The weekend before the 18th we left the children with Florence and Leonard and went to San Francisco. We left Friday night and got to Palo Alto around 10:30. After breakfast Saturday morning we bought $50 worth of records at a record store across from the motel. Then we changed and drove to San Francisco to the Opera House where we saw an afternoon performance of Sleeping Beauty. I didn’t know until we got our programs what we were going to see—Bob got the tickets a month ago. It was a great surprise. The performance was excellent; choreography very imaginative. I love ballet. Think it would be marvelous to be able to express feelings and music with your whole body. I could have easily stayed for the evening performance also! We saw Bud Madalena driving Duane Heryford’s yellow van out of the parking lot in front of us.
We then drove to Palo Alto and ate dinner at the Black Forest Inn where we used to go when we lived in Los Altos. We had weiner snitzel and beer. The same people are running the place. After dinner we went to Kepplers, which is a large paperback bookstore. Spent a couple of hours there and got a few books. There are 4 or 5 rooms and a reading area
Sunday after breakfast we left and drove over to Peter and Angenett’s. Angenett wasn’t there but Peter and the kids were, as well as Joyce, Joe, Hope and Tommy. Peter showed me the house, we talked and Cedric fixed grilled cheese sandwiches for us. Nick was making macramé plant hangers. We left a sack of clothes for Jessica.
The cloud formations coming up the valley were fantastic. Great towering thunderheads, one like a steep cliff with the top edge curled like an ocean wave. Leading back into this cliff were vast, billowing-edged canyons. Then a flock of ducks flew across in front of it. Beautiful!
I had to use a restroom at Willows and suggested to Bob that we stop and say hello to Candie and Jim, thus accomplishing two things. They were just driving down their street to go get a hamburger so we ate hamburgers with them at a Denny’s restaurant. Called Florence from Redding and came home. Clarke was asleep on their living room floor so we gathered everyone up and came home. It had been a good weekend.