Sunday, August 15, 2010
Gratitude Sunday: Oakhurst
It's time for a change and I think I've found the right place. Oakhurst is a small community of 15-20,000 about 15 miles from Yosemite. Because of the traffic in and out of Yosemite, Oakhurst has a few more amenities than a town of this size might normally have ... a very good grocery store, a few more restaurants, and routine exposure to a myriad of languages. But, basically it's a rural community in the Sierra foothills ... an area of little ethnic diversity but a wide spectrum of diversity in the areas of politics, religion, education and lifestyles. The natural beauty and slower pace of the area attract the highly educated, the exceptionally talented as well as the misfits and dropouts.
Somehow, it all seems to work. A neighboring community, North Fork, claims its status as the geographical center of California and is the home of the California Vipassana Center where people routinely do ten-day silent meditation retreats, In the other direction is the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino where you can eat at seven different restaurants and then feed all your spare change to the slots. Bass Lake, where I stayed for four months till I could move into my house is a beautiful small lake that was once featured by Sunset Magazine as one of the best in the West. There are several other beautiful lakes in the area which help make it an outdoor person's dream-come-true ... the picture above is of Mammoth Pools, one of my favorites.
While I don't know where the numbers come from, locals artists are fond of claiming that the area has the highest artists-per-capita of "anywhere." There are indeed a lot and most of them are brought together by a fun, open-studio event known as Sierra Art Trails which happens the first week in October. It's a beautiful time to wander through the foothills, peek into the inner workings of the creative process and see, and perhaps buy, art directly from the artist who can tell you all about how and why he or she created it.
Yesterday was "Art Hop" day here in Oakhurst and I spent the day hopping around the galleries and fell into a meeting of my tribe at the Positive Living Center. It was a magical day that ended with listening to live music under the stars with new friends and old. All in all, I think I've finally come to a place where I can rest and grow roots. And, for this I am truly grateful.