As I sometimes do, when I make a town run east, I stopped outside the FHL main gate yesterday at the old Jolon Store, and contemplated how difficult life was for the original settlers of the South Coast – you know, the Plasketts, the Prewitts, the Mansfields, and the Harlans. They made their trip across the Santa Lucias by horseback and mule, and eventually wagon. It took 3 days. They camped out on the way. They didn’t have propane to run out of, but cooked with wood. They didn’t use gasoline for generators, but used kerosene lamps and candles for light. They made a “town trip” once a year to get some basics like coffee, salt, sugar, flour, and beans. The rest they raised, forageaged, or bartered for with neighbors. Today, life is easier and for many, “town trips” are considered a necessity and are way too frequent. I surmise that one of the reasons we go through these fires and floods (besides Mother Sur taking care of herself) is to remind ourselves of why we are here and what we love about being here. It is our opportunity to allow the land to refresh and for us to reconnect with it. We can discover that many of us sit no more lightly on the land than do our visitors. I learned to cook on my wood stove to conserve propane. It works very much like a crock pot – just make sure to have lots of liquid and a tight fitting lid. I have candles and oil lamps galore and the glow of them, vs. electric lights makes for a very different feeling and ambiance. I have reconnected with my library and my dogs. It can be a joyful time, if you let it be.
The Jolon Store, photo by bigsurkate, taken 2/23/17.