Surviving Winter: Guest column by Sarah Harvey

At the beginning of every winter there is a seemingly universal question nesting in the minds of all of us who live here: What shall come?

And every year, the answer changes.

Depending on the outcome, it feels either incredibly unproductive or incredibly apocalyptic, or maybe both.  We make it through, year by year, and take the low levels of water, or high levels, and either way we prepare for what is yet to come.  Here in our landscape we can expect dry times regardless of what the winter brings. A wet winter is admittedly hard to deal with in the present moment, although it sure does bring its positive landings come summertime.

This year as the aquifer fills and the life on land suffers it is a bit of push, pull, and tug.  Nature, albeit not all parts, is loving the rain.  When referring to “all parts”, this is of course referring to all of the little parts of nature, including earth elements, which were not prepared for the amount of water that flowed this winter.  Either way, if we can all get through the initial trials I’m sure we will be on the other side, praising the amount of water and glad we don’t have to worry as much about drought conditions and all those related things headed into dry season.

Here in California we have been beaten and torn.  Although my family does reside here as cousins living in Pacific Grove, Santa Cruz, and the Bay Area, I grew up on the east coast and most of my family still lives there.  They often question why I would stay here, considering all of the slides, floods, wildfires, and other things our dynamic land has to offer.

I answer: The Community. The Land. The Individualism. The Opportunity. The Freedom. The Fresh Food. The Connection. The Experience.

We are incredibly fortunate to live here, regardless of the struggles. Of course, the struggles are real, and that concept is completely reinforced this winter.  None of us really want, honestly, as the foolhardy and individualistic people we are, to be asking for greater county resources and bigger help than we could otherwise imagine, but that is what we are faced with right now.  If we don’t pull ourselves together and become resourceful, the only option for those of us here who aren’t self-sustainable is to move away.

And then what?

Do we become an island, an otherwise oasis, where those who have chosen to stay are marinating in their own worries? We can pull it together so that we remain afloat enough to take advantage of this time, to thrive and rise up above these challenges, to realize and put into action the fact that the reason each and every one of us who lives here stays because we love the deep blue of the ocean, the sound of the seals echoing, the wind blowing through the redwood trees, the resounding waves crashing hundreds of feet below, and the joys that isolation can bring.  We don’t need a pre-composite meditation video teaching us how to love. We can live it if we open our eyes here. Here. And we can keep promoting our needs as they come.  In the meantime, may we enjoy this space and enjoy this place, and thankfully Big Sur can give us a break from the many external and worldly individual struggles that usually face us while we simultaneously remain completely obsessed with the beauty that immediately surrounds.

2 thoughts on “Surviving Winter: Guest column by Sarah Harvey

  1. Big Sur residents have always been the captain of their souls💜.

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