Sunday, July 06, 2014

Settling In

Humboldt Bay
We've been in Arcata for a little over two weeks now and adjusting quite well to our crazy little rental house in a crazy little neighborhood. For the past ten years our windows opened to the wild world. In Port Townsend (2004-2008) and Grass Valley (2009-2014) we watched a parade of coyotes, bobcats, fox, skunks, deer, and more bird species than I could possibly remember. In Capitola (2008-9), we saw whales, dolphins, sea lions, harbor seals, and more shorebird species than I could possibly remember. Now our north facing windows by the kitchen table face the street. We see a different kind of wildlife. Our neighbors go by on every mode of transportation-- by foot, car, bicycle, skateboard, and motorized scooter. In this college town, the last days and first days of the month means houses being vacated by students and being newly rented by other students. It's a steady stream of comings and goings, cars loaded with stuff driving away; cars loaded with stuff arriving. A riotous continuity of life, like the dens on the creek vacated by the fox, re-inhabited by the skunk.
Ducks at the marsh

We walk into town at least once a day. It's a 2 1/2 mile (4 km) trek roundtrip. The town is always teeming with life. It's like a flashback to the late 60s and early 70s, when people wore handmade tie-dyed shirts and peace and love was the currency of the day. Yes, there's a crazy contingent of homeless folks, meth-heads, drug-addicts of all sorts, and straggling loose-end travelers, but the ambience of the town is still a throwback to an old dream.
Two Willets

We've been out bike riding too. It's been four years since we've had an opportunity to take our old bikes out, so we dusted the pine pollen off and rode out to the marsh. It's a wonderful ride after dinner with the summer sun still high and the marsh wildlife still out in the rippling tide.

This new life here is such a radical change for us. The years we spent in Grass Valley were very socially isolating. We've talked to more people here in two weeks than we spoke to there in four years. We like the sound of warm hellos.

PS-- In the more mundane aspects of life:

We're waiting for our new washer and dryer to be delivered. That's supposed to happen on Tuesday. We did laundry at a LAUNDROMAT for the first time in more than 25 years.

We did not renew our directv contract and decided not to get cable-tv either. We bought a HD antenna and hooked it up to the TV. We get ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, FOX (not news), two movie channels and some re-run stations. We don't watch much TV, so this is definitely more than enough for our minimal appetites and a total delight to be rid of the corporate monsters.

We love having mail delivered right to our front door. Not having to walk a third of a mile on a winding highway rode to get our mail is pure joy! The simple, mundane pleasures of life in this 21st century.

23 comments:

  1. Getting rid of satellite TV also sounds pretty good. We have the same service and are always complaining about having so many channels and nothing to watch. If we had access to a decent internet service, we could probably get rid of ours, too.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was having problems with our stupid Verizon wireless cell modem so I didn't get all of my comment posted. The first thing I tried to say was the life there sounds pretty good so far.

    ReplyDelete
  3. The question I hav eto ask is will you like it there? Town life is different to living in the country, not sure I could handle it

    ReplyDelete
  4. It sounds to me as if you made a great decision in moving. Social isolation is not good (even when you have FB).

    ReplyDelete
  5. I really like the photos and video. The photo of the ducks in the marsh is fantastic!

    It sounds like the area hasn't changed much since the old days. I've been trying to remember some of the places in town we used to go to there. There was a dance place called "The Keg" in Arcata. It's probably long gone. In Eureka, I loved a place called the Vista Del Mar. It was a bar/restaurant. I know it closed a long time ago. I need to get up there!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Nice to see you are still close to a marsh and water. Not sure about all the people. I think I prefer a much quieter life without lots of people around.

    ReplyDelete
  7. After years of observing wildlife, you now get to watch the strangest species of all--mankind. They can be fascinating. Hope you get some pictures of some of the rarer, interesting ones:)) Glad you are still in biking distance of some actual wildlife.
    Admire your cutting back on TV. If it wasn't for baseball, I could probably go cold turkey.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I think it's good that you rented; I now we wish had (though I'm not unhappy with where we are). Taking some time to get acquainted with the life and the lifestyle of a new place is a good idea...you may decide there are places you like, places you don't, and places you want to avoid. But a change of scenery is good. I rather like social isolation most of the time, but people are nice...if the people are nice. I'd love a throwback to the 60s. We've been told Eureka Springs, AR is like that; have yet to make the trip, but it's in the cards! Glad you're enjoying your new digs and new neighborhood.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Mark-- We were paying almost $100 a month for satellite and all we ever watched was Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. We were surprised to find so many channels with just a $20 antenna.There is still nothing to watch, but we don't care. Life is pretty good so far. I should have mentioned the lunatics on the 4th of July. We hadn't heard any fireworks for ten years, but we more than made up for it in one night with firecrackers and insane lights until nearly 1:00 in the morning.

    Bill-- We're hoping to strike a nice balance. We're going to take our time finding a home to buy and have it be in a quieter neighborhood. We do like being able to walk or bike ride pretty much anyplace we want to go.

    kenju-- It was the social isolation and the relentless heat in summer and snow storms in winter. We are in a temperate climate here, and yes it is definitely cloudier, but not a bad trade off.

    Pat-- There are really nice photographic opportunities here. I love having the open sky, a nice change from living in the trees. Arcata is still very nice little town. The farmers market on Saturdays (April-November) is delightful. Good food, beautiful ocean, redwoods, and rivers. We're happy.

    kathy a-- Thanks! It is great!

    Ontario Wanderer-- The people thing is going to take a bit getting used to. We're in a quiet neighborhood, except for the explosion of noise on July 4th. We're hoping the trade-off of being able to walk almost everywhere we want to go will be the best balance to giving up the country and living in town.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Arkansas Patti-- We really could photograph some interesting specimens out there. We have already started to "name" some of the wilder ones. LOL! Our TV addiction is to Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, but we can stream them (the day after the broadcast). So, giving up satellite was surprisingly easy.

    John-- We have moved many, many times over the years. This time we decided to take our time and rent for a while. We know what we want, but want to wait to really get to know the neighborhoods. We like a quiet social life, but we didn't like living out in the country among people who went there to escape human interactions. We like people in small doses, but we generally like nice people, especially if they're nice!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Glad for your happy landing! So good to have amenities like a farmers' market.
    We've been in a temporary nirvana in Ashland, OR, this past week. Nice to experience a full on summer, but I don't think I could take it for a long term. Start to feel like you're turning into beef jerky from the heat...

    ReplyDelete
  12. isabelita-- I'm going to photograph the farmer's market next weekend. It's a total trip back in time to the 60s. We love it! We escaped the furnace of Grass Valley just in time. Their night time low temps are higher than our daytime highs right now. We just couldn't live like that anymore; it's a summertime of beef jerkiness! So, we're cool in the foggy air breeze blowing in from the Pacific.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Glad to see you guys are getting settled in.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Sounds great so far, Robin Andrea. Kali thinks that our retirement house will be too small, but I (at least) just accommodate myself to things, and Kali will, too. Sounds like you're doing the same thing. Different, but not necessarily bad, and in some ways really good.

    BTW, Kali and I have a big outdoor HD antenna that we had installed on our house, so we only get broadcast TV (not cable or satellite). We get a few more stations than you do, but not many, and that's just fine. My (younger) employees think that I'm a dinosaur (which, maybe I am).

    ReplyDelete
  15. "A riotous continuity of life..." I love it.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Dave-- Thank you!

    Scott-- We are definitely looking for a small house to buy. We've had two big houses in the past ten years and have discovered that we tend to live in just a few rooms. So, a little house seems just right. The antenna we bought is an amplified HD set of rabbit ears from Radio Shack. We were so surprised to see what we could pick up in broadcast. We are definitely dinosaurs!

    NCmountainwoman-- Glad you liked that! It's interesting looking out the front windows. Life goes by and by and by.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I have no doubt the two of you will brighten your new world as you've always brightened mine!

    alan

    ReplyDelete
  18. It looks like a place you will enjoy being and you get awhile renting there to be sure it's for you. I like beach communities also. :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. alan-- Thank you for your kind words. On a foggy day like this one, we're glad to be a source of brightness!

    Rain-- The very cool thing about Arcata is that it's a university town, a beach town, and rural dairy cow country. Renting is interesting, but it does give us an opportunity to take our time to make the right decision about where to live.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Inspired by the John Adams piece, The Dharma at Big Sur (a place a good drive South from you!), I've been taking a look at the Pacific coast of the US on Googlemaps. It looks a great place to be. Thanks for a good read and best of luck with your new move!

    ReplyDelete
  21. sackerson-- Thank you so much for stopping by. The north coast of California is a beautiful and enriching place to be. We are settling in. We appreciate your good wishes.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thought I had left a comment on this post. I am so happy to know that you are settling in. Summer can be foggy on the coast. Not too far inland, though, it is sunny and even hot. There are wonderful places to visit inland along the Mad River. My favorite time of year in Humboldt County is coming up in September and October and into the winter. The air is so clear and clean. The redwood trees breathe deeply. The grey whales pass through. It's all still there in my heart. Do you remember when I wrote about my long ago dream of a grey-haired couple in love, walking on the beach north of Arcata? I thought it might be a dream of my future. Maybe it was dream of your present and future.

    ReplyDelete