On Sunday, 26 January 2020, Peggy drove us to Blackie’s Pasture on the way Tiburon in her new Porsche SUV. Chris is “feeding” the statue of Blackie the horse who was pastured here for many years. Joining him are Mary, Peggy, Frank and Laurie, along with my shadow.
Blackie’s Pasture is on Richardson Bay, on the way to Belvedere where we drove around admiring the fabulous homes. Peggy had just returned from her fabulous vacation to Sydney, Australia, cruise around New Zealand, and a stay in Maui.
Chris and Mary Rose stopped by the Old Rail Bike Trail sign for a quick snap.
The day before, they visited Mom’s grave in San Rafael.
The Corona virus was sweeping Wuhan, China that weekend. Here’s Chris’s version of how it would affect us.
Here is a selfie that Chris took while we were at the park.
A quick note to self with some grounding practices. First, Max Strom as recommended by Therese Smith. I call this 4-6-8 breathing.
Second, the University of Rochester Medical Center 5-4-3-2-1 technique for coping with anxiety and to reconnect to your body and to the earth.
Slow, deep, long breaths can help you maintain a sense of calm or help you return to a calmer state. Once you find your breath, go through the following steps to help ground yourself:
5: Acknowledge FIVE things you see around you. It could be a pen, a spot on the ceiling, anything in your surroundings.
4: Acknowledge FOUR things you can touch around you. It could be your hair, a pillow, or the ground under your feet.
3: Acknowledge THREE things you hear. This could be any external sound. If you can hear your belly rumbling that counts! Focus on things you can hear outside of your body.
2: Acknowledge TWO things you can smell. Maybe you are in your office and smell pencil, or maybe you are in your bedroom and smell a pillow. If you need to take a brief walk to find a scent you could smell soap in your bathroom, or nature outside.
1: Acknowledge ONE thing you can taste. What does the inside of your mouth taste like—gum, coffee, or the sandwich from lunch?
Prioritize Yourself, Attend to your Internal State
Contact water will ground a dangerous electrical charge: take a warm shower, wash your face, wash your hands, take a drink of water.
NYTimes article on Cutting as a form of self-soothing.
Quotes from Carl Jung.
Carl Inglin led more than two dozen people on a beautiful section of the Russian River yesterday that we rarely get to paddle because of summertime dams and bridges. We met at 9:30 on Sunday morning, completed our shuttle and were on the water at 10:45. Here is how we looked at our 12 noon lunch stop near Bohemian Grove.
The biggest surprise was at the Vacation Beach temporary bridge which was still up. There was a large fish counter on river right. We all got out to check the little weir that had been installed which was clearly marked with orange triangles mounted on I-beams that were parallel to the shore.
Several of us ran it, including me. Most walked their boats to the other side of the bridge. The biggest surprise was a VERY strong current immediately past the drop that tended to push me into the bridge stanchion. Carl remarked on it, too. I think it was man-made to drive the fish into the counter. The inflatable boater below is just entering the strong side-current.
Debi made the drop successfully in her new Eddyline. Many happy boaters on this trip.
Because there typically little boat traffic on this part of the river, there were lots of large wading birds like herons and egrets. Here is the view from our lunch beach. We were back on the water at 12:30 and I was loading my boat back on my car in Guerneville at 2:30. Very successful day.
Sonoma Land Trust opened the locked gates for MarshFest and Martha and I enjoyed Sonoma County’s only public access to the Bay. We paddled Dickson Ranch, the newly restored tidal marsh along the northern shore of San Pablo Bay, and hiked the Dickson Trail. Here is a photo from the Sonoma Land Trust website.
The event was part of a day-long celebration of the Bay and the timing was sub-optimal for paddling. Sonoma Land Trust provided bikes, nature hikes, and sit-on-top boats, but the tide was only two feet and going out. Ideally, the tide would be three feet or higher and coming in to reduce the chance of being swept out through the breaches in the Dickson Ranch dikes and into the currents of San Pablo Bay. The low, ebbing tide made paddling difficult because the kayaks barely cleared the silty bottom in many places. Those who exited after we did had a long slog through the mud, so checking the tide charts will be important in planning a visit.
This area is open to the public, but the locked gate is a distance from the put-in. On this day, the gate was open, but on a private visit, wheels will be necessary. It is paved for 99% of the way.
The put-in is at the end of Reclamation Road. To reach it from Lakeville Highway from Petaluma, just keep going straight as if you were going to drive to the Bay. That is, when you reach Hwy 37, CROSS it at the stoplight. Soon you will reach the locked gate with a parking area. The Land Trust area is open to the public but access is restricted by the locked gate. That just means you have to wheel your boat in. Sit-on-tops are ideal because the water is very calm and protected, but shallow. The mud has tremendous suction and pulled my sandals off, so consider mud boots and don’t even think of trying this in flip-flops. The Sonoma Land Trust personnel were just barefoot.
The photo below is from the little rise just past “Railroad Crossing” on the map above. You can see the locked gate in the distance, and Lakeville Highway coming to a T at Highway 37. You can see the parking area adjacent to the locked gate and you can see paved road where you will wheel your boat to the put-in shown in the map above.
Here’s the payoff you will get. This is Martha paddling toward Mt. Tamalpais. This is a very easy paddle, flat water even though it is technically San Pablo Bay, and surrounded by wetland birds and open vistas.
Dickson Ranch is actually adjacent to the original Baylands restoration project and this trail sign explains the history and some of what they learned. San Pablo Bay is at the top of the sign. We paddled the flooded-for-restoration Dickson Ranch and hiked Dickson Trail.
This is what happens when the tide gets too low.
I found a super-cheap flight from Marrakesh to Copenhagen, but my friend Sue said, “No dice.” Instead, she mailed me “The Year of Living Danishly” by Helen Russell and I loved it. Helen ends her book with the Danish “rules.”
- Trust. Because the population is so stable, kids grow up with each other and everyone knows everyone else. The culture is built on trust and 79% of Danes trust most people. This is very calming and de-stressing.
- Get hygge. This can be translated as “cozy” or “fun,” but it reflects the deep Danish commitment to beautiful, simple, clean, bright, quality surroundings. Yes, they absolutely believe in Danish design.
- Use your body. They are very active, including dance.
- Address the aesthetics. Make your environment as beautiful as you can, outdoors as well as indoors.
- Streamline your options. Cutting down on choice can take some of the hassle out of modern life. Danes cultivate stress-free simplicity and freedom within boundaries.
- Be proud of your community. Find something that you, or folks from your home town, are really good and and join in customs and festivals. Wave the flag.
- Value family. The Danes have many customs and rituals that promote this.
- Equal respect for equal work
Underlying these customs are the Ten Laws of Jante which can be summed up as You are not to think you’re anyone special or that you’re better than we are.
In this YouTube video, Helen Russell explains the Danish custom of “not depriving yourself” at 31 minutes in. She quotes a Dane as saying, “Hygge helps us to be nice to each other.” Here is a screenshot of Helen’s best definition. She point out that Danes use more candles than any other European country, and she suspects it is because people look nice in candelight.
Law of Jante
The 1930s Danish-Norwegien author Aksel Sandemose outlines the ten rules for living Danishly in his novel A Fugitive Crosses His Tracks. Here’s how Wikipedia translates the Ten Laws of Jante.
You’re not to think you are anything special.
You’re not to think you are as good as we are.
You’re not to think you are smarter than we are.
You’re not to imagine yourself better than we are.
You’re not to think you know more than we do.
You’re not to think you are more important than we are.
You’re not to think you are good at anything.
You’re not to laugh at us.
You’re not to think anyone cares about you.
You’re not to think you can teach us anything.
The Janters who transgress this unwritten ‘law’ are regarded with suspicion and some hostility, as it goes against the town’s communal desire to preserve harmony, social stability and uniformity.
Helen says that if anyone plays the martyr-card, staying late at the office or working too much, they’re likely to get a leaflet about efficiency or time-management dropped on their desk than any sympathy. She loved the value they placed on spending time with their families and friends and her book was a joy to read.
I posted this comment to this NYTimes article California Boat Fire Kills at Least 20; Haunting Pleas as Flames Erupt
I spent two nights on the Conception with a Sierra Club trip to the channel islands in October 2017. It has a main stairway from the passenger bunks below deck to the kitchen on the main deck and also a secondary escape hatch which they made sure we knew about in the Emergency Procedure Drill they held. The hatch opened to the main deck cabin, which we all saw was engulfed in flames. I am also a diver and have slept on other boats and you are right, they are similar. Typically, the crew sleeps close to the wheel house, far from the passengers. I am stunned by this tragedy.
I have not yet written about the Sierra Club trip because it was shortly after the October 2017 fires in Santa Rosa. I had planned the Channel Islands trip months earlier, and paid for it in advance, as required, so I had to go. Frankly, I was grateful to get out of Santa Rosa even though I was coming down with a massive cold contracted in the shelters. But more on that later.
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