Zaca Lake

July 1, 2010

Well, we’re here at Zaca Lake.. no connections available.  We’ll see if we can find some place on this property where I can get Wifi.  Nobody is here except us.  Our cabin had no charcoal grill so there was no place to cook.  I walked up to the yurt and got the one from there and brought it all around the lake to our cabin.  It was kind of noisy, me dragging it around the lake.

 We had our barbecued hot dogs for dinner and the raccoons came right up to our table.  They hopped up on the table and put out their little raccoon hands for some food.  We gave them marshmallows, sourdough bread and chocolate.  Eventually there were three raccoons and they were climbing on the cars, up on the bench and all around our feet. 

 Now it’s morning and we’re feeding the scrub jays who are arguing over chips.  They argue about who should have the biggest chip.  Mark and I are going to go wine tasting and then I have this dream of getting completely caught up on my editing, I have several manuscripts to review, write a few more chapters on my book, do some planning for the press, relax, swim, hike, drink, read…. I’m not really sure if all this is going to fit… but we will see. 

 Mark is continuing to read up on quantum physics and he is explaining quantum physics to Steve’s girlfriend.  I don’t know if this is her primary level of interest.  Mark is fascinated with quantum physics.  He likes to read about entanglement and the movement of photons and explain this stuff to us on camping trips.  It’s a little too early for alcohol, but with booze this conversation could be improved.  Mark likes to explain the movement of light particles.  Do we need to understand photons and light particles and the theory of many worlds?  The state of superposition and what entanglement means… it has to do with how reality changes when we observe something.

 Can we exist in both worlds at once?  Mark says no.  There could be two Steves, one is one reality, one in another.  I like this, I want one Kate to stay here at the cabin and do all the work of Red Hen Press while the other Kate goes wine tasting, goes for a swim and then gets drinks wine and kicks back.

 Mark says we exist in the freak zone where weird accidents happen.  I say he’s right and this whole family lives in the freak zone.  That might be a good chapter, living in the freak zone.  I think I’ll add that into Wild Horses. This family is one big party.

 I say they got the craziness from their dad.  I remember Jerry’s grandmother who raised him telling me about him as a little boy in kindergarten.  “He wouldn’t play with the other kids so I get called in to see the teacher, and the teacher tells me little Jerry won’t play with the other children, and I ask him why he won’t.  Jerry looks at me kind of funny and says, “They’re really childish.” 

 I like that story not because Amy and Steve won’t play with other children, but because when they do, they always want the other kids to have as big a personality as themselves.  They have huge personalities.  They want the other kids to be completely unafraid of anything, to own the universe, to feel they are invincible, to not care what anyone thinks of them.  To in fact, be like their dad.

When Steve’s in middle school, his teacher tells me that each of the kids gets to rate themselves on a one to ten scale and explain their rating.  Most of the kids give themselves a four or a five based on their own shyness, their grades, their home behavior.  Steve gives himself a fifteen.  Based on what? The teacher asks.  Your grades aren’t that good, are you that good at home?  “Not really,” Steve says, “It’s based on me.”

            “But what about you?”

            “Just me, I’m completely cool.” 

That’s something to start with.  Believe you’re cool… and maybe others will go along with it as well.

Published in: on July 1, 2010 at 12:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Zaca Lake and leaving the Farm

June 30th, 2010

For some reason, Zaca Lake reminds me of the Farm… the best parts of the Farm… the outdoor living, the lake… we had ponds… the wildlife… I ran away from all that, but today, I will drive up the California coast to go to Zaca… it reminds me of leaving… and of being left…

from Wild Horses… about that leaving….

You get out a small spiral notebook and when you find your tree you try writing.  What you write is Bible verses.  Then you try a stab at something else.  You write, “Who am I?” But there really is no answer.  You are entirely nobody.  How do girls define themselves?  You think that one is probably pretty or not, but you aren’t sure if you are.  Probably not.  One might have a skill like dancing or cooking.  You know you don’t have skills.  You want to travel and you know how to pick fruit.  You will be a traveling fruit picker.  You write this down and immediately feel better.  You have your first goal. You once asked at an orchard outside the Farm where the Farm kids had been picking fruit for cider, who usually picked the fruit.  A man who worked there had told you their usual crew spoke Spanish.  You asked if a lot of fruit pickers speak Spanish.  He said yes.  You want to learn Spanish.  You write in your book, “I have given up my childhood dream of being a gypsy once and for all.  I am going to be a traveling fruit picker and learn Spanish.”   This seems like an excellent life goal to you.  You write, “I will not worry about boyfriends because I am too ugly.  I will learn Spanish so I can be a better fruit picker.”  You decide to write in journals and when they are full you will bury them so that your words can become the soil, can bear fruit for you.  You do not know that you will bury many journals before you decide to keep them in a chest.  You do not know that you will eventually see words you have written in print.  You do not know that it will take you two years to save enough to enroll yourself as a Spanish major at a community college in Richmond, Virginia where you will prepare yourself for your chosen profession. You do not know that you will also go to graduate school.  You do not know that you will pick mangos in Guatemala, papayas in Hawaii, oranges and figs in California, grapefruits in Arizona, but not for pay.

That you will find love and then find it again.  That you will have children who will love you.  That when they are teens and it is time to say no, that you will not have no in you.  That you will have gathered all the no’s of your young life and left them behind you at the Farm.  That you will camp with them and read to them.  That you will never have a television because you cannot bear the noise.  That you will raise chickens and tomatoes in the city of Los Angeles under bright heat in houses that are not zoned for poultry.  That your children will grow, even without the no’s, their father and stepfather taking the brunt of discipline. That you will let them bring home friends who will outstay their welcome at your house.  “But you don’t understand,” you’ll say, “she’s homeless.”  The dads will not like the idea of taking in homeless friends.  You will know that they are right.

     You will know that you have walked away from right and wrong.  As you walk away from the Farm, past the gardens, the orchard, the long sheep pen, you know that you will always be outside.  That night when you go to sleep, when you crawl in your sleeping bag, you repeat your own stolen psalm.  You say this and smile your first real smile.  You have never celebrated a birthday or a holiday or anything.  But you have your own psalm, and maybe that’s as good a beginning as anything. You say this to yourself every night for years.  You say it and you smile.

     I am my shepherd

     I shall not want.

I make to me lie down in green pastures.

I lead me beside the still waters.

I restore my soul.

I lead me in the paths of righteousness for my own sake.

Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,

I will fear no evil. For I am with me.

My rod and my staff, they comfort me.

I prepare a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.

I anoint my head with oil.

My cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in my own house forever.

Published in: on June 30, 2010 at 12:32 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Zaca Lake

May 22, 2009

In my still very chaotic, messy personal life, I run another ten miles.  Then off to Zaca Lake where we have no Wifi for days and I can think about the chaos and swim.  For dinner Mark makes this amazing roast chicken, corn on the cob, and we can relax in the green space by the lake.  Tree branches crossing the sky, casting shadows, tree branch shadows across the open spaces where we wander down to the lake, carefully  past the poison oak, into the water.  I cannot imagine my life if I could not come back here, hear the ducks on the lake, hear the chirping of the frogs and birds, see the fish, feel the damp underbelly of eternity that throbs there…I am the center of the moon and I feel Zaca like a kite string pulling at me.  Several deer watch us eat dinner, but a raccoon comes right up on the porch, and puts out his little raccoon hands for Mark to hand him some bread.  What a pushy little Zorro.

Published in: on May 25, 2009 at 10:11 pm  Leave a Comment