Sunday, May 9, 2021

Day 10: How Are You Wonderful? Updating an old question

Scott Valley

Having a blog of many years is somewhat like having a friend who taps you on the shoulder and says, "Remember when ... " In this case, the friend is my own self from ten years ago ... a rather weird sensation.

Yesterday was the last full day of the ramble through Northern California and the song playing through my brain is, "What's it all about, Alfie?" ... one old enough that only a few of you will connect with it. Trying to make sense of the past ten days ... the what, the why, and the what might have been.

Yesterday morning found me driving through Scott Valley in Siskiyou County ... a movie-setting, placid, green valley surrounded by snow-tipped mountains which is also part of the proposed State of Jefferson (originally proposed in 1941, two months before Pearl Harbor). 

On an off-the-beaten path excursion, I passed two men standing in conversation in the driveway of an isolated ranch house surrounded by fields of green. Almost an hour later, after wandering through a bit of the deep peace of this valley, they were still there, still in conversation. I wondered who I would be if my life had dropped me into this utopian valley. I can almost understand the tendency to want to break away, protect the peaceful perfection, wall out the world.  Later, I stopped at a gas station and stepped into the midst of a conversation about Costco. When I asked about this bit of paradise, I heard about the isolation, the cost of living, the lack of meaningful work, and an admission that it was paradise ... but with a price.

On down the road, I stopped in the historic town of Etna where I found this mural.

Mural words:

The land of Siskiyou ... beaver valley ... "Rough and Ready" ... "Aetna Mills" ... "Etna" ... Many names but one land of majestic mountains, pristine rivers and lakes. Sparkling streams flow through meadows filled with life. Once abundant with beaver, this beautiful valley still inhabits bear, mountain lion, deer, spectacular bird life, and other wildlife native to this land. Let us embrace it's beauty. "Ayukii" & "Welcome" 

Ayukii means "hello" in the language of the Karuk tribe of Native Americans. Wikipedia: Since time immemorial, the Karuk resided in villages along the Klamath River, where they continue such cultural traditions as hunting, gathering, fishing, basketmaking and ceremonial dances.

In the blog post from 2011, I realized that I was head over heels in love with my life. A wonderful reminder at the end of this ten days of traveling through California to realize I am still in love with my life and immensely grateful to have the health and resources to make this journey.

The ending question is one I want to remember to ask every day: "How am I wonderful, joyful and grateful to be alive?" I hope you will also.

Victorian in Etna

"How are You Wonderful?" ... posted May 28, 2011

Yesterday was an anniversary, one of those calendar days laden with memories that pull us back into past times.  I wondered if it would be a melancholy day but it dawned one of those clear-blue-sky days with warm sunshine, cool breezes and promises of delight ... a perfect day.

Many years ago I read that women bond over our problems. And, it's true.  We spend long hours empathizing with each other over love gone wrong, bad bosses, our children's mishaps, health issues, financial reversals and the state of our psyches.  We share life's joys and wins also but not quite in the same way.  And, that makes me wonder why we are more comfortable talking about our problems than our joys?  Is it the fear of jinxing a good thing or not wanting to brag about our lives?  Or is it just that our problems demand our attention and we don't take the time to appreciate and talk about the parts of our lives that are wonderful?

Yesterday was a wonderful day  ... a search for mosaic materials at a peddlers' fair in the morning, lunch with an artist friend and an afternoon of working on my mosaics.  Even the mild melancholy that showed up in the late afternoon was tempered by the joy of a long walk through the trees with Missy.  At some point during the day I realized that I am head over heels in love with my life.  

There's probably a lot of us ... we just don't talk about it that much.  Maybe we should start a club ... the Head over Heels in Love with Our Lives Club ... and shout it from the roof tops.  Maybe we should start all our conversations by sharing the happiest things in our lives.  Maybe we should focus on the joy in our lives and let the problems sit in the backseat.  We often ask our friends, "How are you?"  Perhaps we should ask, "How are you wonderful, joyful and grateful to be alive?" Hmmmm???

About the Image:  War and Peace  (unfinished)

I decided to focus on lines and this is what showed up.  I know it's not finished but don't know where it wants to go so will let it sit for awhile.


  1. It can seem life-changing when we decide not to allow the negative to be our focus.

    What a great way you phrased that question.

    Lovely image.

  2. Fabulous post! Thanks for the inspiration, and the joy, and for sharing it so graciously!

    Love the image too!

    And if you're starting that club... count me in!

  3. Wonderful post! I can't yet say I'm "head over heels in love with my life", but at least I am now able to see that exciting possibility is within reach. I realize I must be cautious to not surround myself with only those who want to bond over the problems we face as recent widows. I think that's a very important statement for me to read this morning. Thank you!

  4. Dianne ... I am very sorry for your loss ... I know how it divides life into before and after. It's important to let ourselves be comforted by our friends without slipping into the identity of "poor widow." Sounds like you are making progress. Best wishes on your journey.

  5. Thanks Joyce, very engaging post. It's amazing how moods change and inspiration comes seemingly from out of nowhere or out of the depths of our subconscious triggered by events or things we experience throughout the day.

  6. You inspire and delight me, as do your images. Count me in the Head Over Heels in Love with My Life Club!

  7. Becky... I nominate you for president!!