Writing

6:30 AM, Wednesday, April 20, 2022, Albion, California

When I lie in my bed here in the Dawn cabin at Salmon Creek Farm, I'm beneath a big plate of glass that angles downward. Not a skylight, sort of a window, more like a portal. The redwoods are beyond it, and when I come here to watch the rain, as I am now, the view is a blurry pane of green, punctuated by the needle-like patter of raindrops.

This morning when I woke up, the sky was fading up from black into navy and I could see the moon. I photographed it, but there's no photo sufficient to capture the feeling. Yesterday, we went on a tour of the farm, and I photographed the far-reaching ferns, the weathered cabins, the long-legged trees, and on and on. Dull pictures. Salmon Creek Farm is not a place to document but rather to internalize and express.

So I've been lying here under my rainy window making collages from my photos. One of them is inspired by a page in Country Women magazine, copies of which are all throughout our cabin. It was published in the 1970s, and this particular issue is called "Older Women." There is story after story of women discovering themselves despite (and sometimes through) hardship. The theme, at least as I interpret it, is the idea of existing on a parallel track of self-sufficiency and cooperation. Self-sufficiency without cooperation means isolation, being closed off, shut down. Cooperation without a sense of self isn't really cooperation; it's probably a kind of codependency, an unhealthy reliance, and therefore quite a tenuous existence. In this final collage, you see Alice, who whose life took many turns, some of them unwelcome. And at age 50, here's where her head was:

"I don't think about the future. I try to live every day. I take one day at a time. If today is heavy, I know that tomorrow will be different; it might not be better but it will be different. As a young person, I thought more in terms of the future. Today there is so much to do and such good feelings that come with doing."
“Alice,” photo collage. Source image from Country Women. © Kristina Feliciano