BootsnAll Travel Network

Arriving at Green Gulch

I’m just back from a walk to the Pacific, and I have been filling up with tears at just about every turn in the path. I first heard of Green Gulch in 1969, and I have wanted to reach here ever since; so it’s now a place out of legend for me. I dreamed of coming here when, after my marriage to Christopher’s father ended, the two of them disappeared; but I had no money. I dreamed of coming here with Seth, but you can’t raise a child here. I dreamed of coming here when I decided to leave Smith, but I wanted to go to Africa first. So here I am. Here are the gardens, laid out in the sun; here is the trail to the beach; here are California dreamers in a cool wind, next to an icy Pacific. Some are in bikinis; some are in heavy fleece jackets and long pants. I rolled my pants up and stepped into the water and looked around me. I’m here. In California. That place of dream. Today I have free time till 6 p.m., and there are two computers available for residents who are not working. I don’t know how easy it will be to get to a computer as the week goes on and I begin my labor. But here’s where I am now.

After wonderful talk with Diane (who lives in Albuquerque) and then, after a short flight west, with Carolyn (who lives in Kuwait but is in California for a while); after good meals, good talk, good rest on good beds, and the joy of FRIENDS, I got here just in time to have lunch with Carolyn in a large dining room and to say goodbye. She laughed that she felt like she was leaving a kid at summer camp. I definitely feel like a kid, though I never went to summer camp, so I’m not sure what that’s like. My room has space for three beds–on the floor–no bunk beds. I am the first one in. The second is a thirtyish woman named Megan, who’s from Seattle but is now living in Little Rock. She was off to the beach. I was just back.

It’s all smaller than I expected. There’s a small octagonal guest house I haven’t been in yet; there’s a large residence house with many rooms on two floors. All rooms open onto a large atrium with a wood stove and a beautiful polished floor. The dining room has two floors. I haven’t yet seen the Zendo. Then there are a couple of small buildings and the gardens. The gardens go on and on: first several flower gardens, then fields and fields of lettuce, kale, squash, and I don’t know what, all interspersed with flowers and buzzed by thousands of bees. Beyond the gardens is a horse pasture, and along the path are tall dandelions and thistles. The hills rise up on either side of the path, with wisps of cloud floating among them. Some dunes meet the path, and then comes the beach and a cove where the Pacific rushes in. I’d envisioned much larger and more complex infrastructure. This place doesn’t look like it could be a hotel, unless there are buildings I haven’t seen yet. I wonder what I will do here. On my way to the beach I passed a greenhouse where a young woman was watering plants. I didn’t see anyone in the gardens, but I saw piles of weeds at the ends of many rows. Someone must have pulled them out of the garden. I am a little stunned. I keep saying it: I’m in California. I’m at Green Gulch. Here I am. Really. This is not a dream.

I stood at the beach as the afternoon sun glinted off the Pacific, and I looked around me at all the people. Many have dogs. These dogs live in California. Many of these people, maybe most of them, live in California. They found a way to do that. How astonishing. It isn’t just a dream to them. It isn’t a song. It’s life. I looked up from the beach at houses built all up the hill to the north of the beach. All those people were able to get houses in Marin County, in California. There’s a Redwood tree near the dining room. I’m really in California.

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One response to “Arriving at Green Gulch”

  1. Diane says:

    So, there you are. May the experience be all that you need it to be. Yes, great talks. Diane

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