Sunday, August 30, 2020

The Gift to Be Simple

Tis a gift to be simple, 'tis a gift to be free

'Tis a gift to come down where I ought to be

This morning, a Facebook friend posted these song lyrics which struck a deep chord within me and helped me find the words to talk about changes in the works.

My path, once again, has zigged. And, while right now the upcoming move feels a bit overwhelming and complicated, I believe it comes from my yearning to be simple and free, coming down where I ought to be.

I’ve long admired stability … lengthy marriages, family homes filled with generations of memories, decades long careers growing within the structure of a single organization. Solid bedrock. Reliable. However, my path appears anything but stable and as much as I hear words like “wanderlust” and “gypsy,” I feel like all these many moves have been part of the process of looking for home, that place where I belong.

Earlier this year I spent a lot of time thinking about my life and what I want the rest of my years to be like. I created a 5-year plan focused on living in delight. During that process, I distilled the actions that bring me joy into four words: LEARN - CREATE - CONNECT - SHARE. The one that has driven me the most in the past few years is CONNECT … to myself, friends and family, and the world around me.

As we have moved further into this strange year, those words have helped me make choices, including the one that resulted in my buying a travel trailer parked on the shore of Lake Almanor in Northern California as part of my yearning to be more connected to nature.

I’m going to blame this current explosion of change on my new neighbor Bob who sold me the trailer. This has been his summer place for many years. He also has a house in the Bay Area and a winter place in San Felipe, a sleepy fishing village in Baja … or it used to be when I went there so many years ago.

In one of our conversations, Bob talked about how much he loves the lake and how he gets a little depressed when it’s time to close up for the season. I had just gotten here, so I wasn’t thinking about leaving. However, after a few weeks of being surrounded by shimmering ponderosas and kayaking different lakes any time I wanted, I began to feel the wind shifting: I didn’t want to leave this peaceful place that fills me with such delight. 

And when I am in the place just right
I will be in the valley of love and delight

Lake Almanor is in California, a place I fell in love with at age 22 and never wanted to leave. I did leave, however, more than once, including two years in Mexico. When I returned from Mexico, I was convinced that I could never afford to live in California again, so with family there, I chose Reno, determined to love it as much as it deserves. However, living on Lake Almanor showed me that Reno wasn’t my “place just right.”

At first, I thought that Reno plus five months on the lake would be a good combination. That changed to thinking maybe living in one of the little towns around the lake would make sense. The average ten feet of snow per year nixed that idea, plus living in a new town in a single family home sounded too isolating.

I’m not quite sure where the “what if” was born, but one night I found myself online looking for a place where I could spend the 7 months when I couldn’t be at the lake. The idea of giving up my house and living in two RVs each parked in a spectacular place shocked my sensibilities but quickly became a “wow! That could be cool.” 
The next several days were a bit crazy as I chased an RV possibility through the 113-degree temps in Quartzsite, Arizona, finally finding the right one in my own back yard. Quickly though, the thousand-piece puzzle started falling into place with the final picture showing me spending summers at the lake and winters at a beautiful RV park in Julian, California, a small mining town whose main claim to fame is its apple pie. It’s in the mountains east of San Diego so there will be some snow but friends and the beaches will be only an hour away. 

Will this be my “forever” place? I truly don’t know, but I’m delighted for the opportunity to explore this simple way of living, always free to adjust as needed.

Here is a video my friend Pat took as we discovered Pinezanita, the RV park in Julian, and celebrated with apple pie. 

Tis a gift to be simple, 'tis a gift to be free
'Tis a gift to come down where I ought to be
And when I am in the place just right
I will be in the valley of love and delight
When true simplicity is gained
To bow and to bend I will not be ashamed
To turn, to turn will be my delight
'Til by turning, turning, I come 'round right.

— Joseph Brackett Jr. (May 6, 1797 – July 4, 1882) was an American songwriter, author, and elder of The United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing, better known as the Shakers.


  1. Maybe you should learn to fly your own airplane, so you can just hop from one home to another quickly. Bet you could do it! You are truly an amazing woman and you continue to seek your best life. Meanwhile, I continue to struggle to just adjust to the changes in my one simple existence. I love knowing we are friends and that wherever you are, you'll share those experiences. If evolution is how we all got here, I suspect you are speeding up the evolution process for all of the coming generations. Some of us find "change" difficult......but for you, it's just an ongoing adventure. Keep on "trucking" friend.

  2. SOOO if I have got this right... 7 months in Julian... and then the rest of the time in Reno, near the kids?
    Where ever you land... we are due for some time... ox

    1. Close. 7 months in Julian and 5 months at Lake Almanor where I'll be 2 hours from kids. Also passing by them in both directions as I go from one place to the other along 395.