Santa Rosa has always been one of those interestingly remote places for me. I grew up just an hour away from it, but it always felt as distant as places three or four hours away, as if it were more suited to a long weekend trip than a quick visit. Where I live now is […]
I’ve long told myself that if I could live anywhere in my home state of California, it would be Mendocino.
The sea in this part of California is wild and rugged, with waves throwing themselves against rocks—except in the beautiful breaks from the wildness, when the shoreline is interrupted by a smooth, inviting beach and the sea pauses to catch its breath.
Nearby, the redwoods in and around Mendocino National Forest reach yearningly for the sky. Not content to touch the clouds, they strain ever higher and higher. Under their thick canopy, as you walk on the cushion that years of their fallen needles have created, there’s silence. Not in a literal sense—the forest is too alive to be truly silent—but rather in the sense of a complete cessation of the noise of everyday life. You’re allowed to forget about work deadlines, and after a while you stop automatically reaching for your phone (which has no signal anyway). It’s a peaceful silence of the soul or spirit rather than the ears.
But I’ve lied to you—and to myself. It wasn’t true when I said Mendocino would be my choice if I could live anywhere in California. The truth is, it would be my hometown of Berkeley. It’s become clear through living in Winters that I don’t cope well with being far away from a large, vibrant city. But the Mendocino story that I tell myself is a nice dream about who I could be, and a reflection of parts of me that I want to hold onto.