Growing up I never understood why my parents would choose to live in such a remote location as Scott Valley . After all, it is not as though the area offered great shopping opportunities or easy access to an international airport ( a 6 hour drive is not easy access). And while, I agree that the views of the surrounding mountains are beautiful, it was impossible to understand how truly spectacular they are as a child waking up to them every morning.
This weekend I started to understand.
This small valley in Northern California is a hidden oasis in a world that seems to have lost control of time. None of the aspects of life that make me cringe exist in this small town. There are no traffic delays, unless of course you get stuck behind a cattle drive, there are not even any traffic lights. There are no lines to wait in, no hunting for parking and you don’t have to lock your car or even take out the keys when you are just running into the store for a carton of milk. And the view, the view is spectacular. The streets are lined with trees and dotted with majestic old homes, most in need of repair but still grand. The mountains surround the valley as if mother nature herself were wrapping her protective arms around the small community. The air has a constant smell of freshly cut hay, and the water that comes out of the tap is as cool and crisp as it would be if you hiked up the hill to the stream from which it originates. Everyone smiles and says hello on the street or waves at you as they pass in their pickup trucks. Church is cancelled on Sunday if there is a community event planned. Pancake breakfast is served in the park and bake sale treats include homemade (not from mix) brownies, cookies and blackberry pies. It takes five years to finish painting a house and when you are done, you start over again. The softball field has thick grass growing in right field and hand painted signs of local businesses along the fence. And, even though you moved away over a decade ago, people still greet you by name and ask about life in the city.
The life that I have chosen for myself is nearly 180 degrees from that in which I was raised. But, it is nice to know that when I am ready I can return home and be welcomed back like an adventurer returning from the new world.