The Trinity-Shasta Wilderness
Now I'm really travelling. I spent last night in the home of a lovely woman that I never met before, Jan Rowen, a nurse-midwife, who was introduced to me over the phone by Tara Sufiana, a performance artist, who I met twice for fifteen minutes in the Emerald Cafe in Ukiah.
Jan bought a 1928 vintage home in Eureka seven years ago, and says it is the focus of her life. It shows. Everything is clean, comfortable, well-planned, made to her liking. She has two bedrooms, but found she loves sleeping in the front porch room, surrounded by white Christmas lights and the two sweet-tempered and grateful dogs she adopted after finding them half-dead, one on the street and one on the beach. She maintains an organic garden in back and flowers on all sides of the house. Six cats live outside. Jan has delivered over a thousand babies and assisted with the birthing of several thousand more. This is a woman of mind and heart.
Jan Rowen in her garden
Nasturtiums on the west side of Jan's house, a bower of roses, dusty miller in front
Raised beds in her backyard organic garden
She encourages me to feast upon the blueberries and raspberries in her garden at breakfast time. "The more you pick, the more they grow," she enthuses. I help myself. The fragrance and intense sweetness of just-picked fruit redefines gourmet. Alicia Waters, eat your heart out.
Blueberries in Jan's garden
Raspberries on the vine
The porch room where Jan sleeps, seen from the living room
I took my time getting on the road to avoid travelling in the heat of the day. Eureka shares the chilly fogbelt that engulfs San Francisco and Mendocino in the summer, but Redding roared at 113 degrees at 7 PM that night when I passed through. Highway 299 from Arcata to Redding passes over four high ridges, and winds for miles along the banks of the Trinity River, which, in the summer heat, flowed dark green and lazy, beaconing swimmers to refresh their souls.
Looking west from a high ridge to another upon which Hwy 299 can be seen
I traveled for hours along the banks of
the Trinity River
Closer to Redding, I passed the shores of a man-made lake, created by the Whiskeytown Dam.
At Redding, I turned north on Interstate 5, a Martian territory dominated by eighteen-wheel trucks racing one another toward futility. Suddenly this Thing arose in front of my windshield, this ghostly immense magnet, this surreal cathedral for Yetis, in the midst of the pine forest. I had to pull off the highway and just stare.
"A young volcano," I thought, remembering the shapes of the various Hawaiian islands relative to their geologic ages, "with snow on it in the summer." It is almost identical in height to Mauna Kea, another young dormant volcano, on the Big Island: 14,162 feet.
Photographers, notably Kevin Lahey, love to capture Mount Shasta visited by flying saucer-shaped clouds. Some chat with St. Germain and the Ascended Masters on the slopes, and maintain an office in Mount Shasta City for visitors of like mind. Others swear to seeing extra-terrestrials or angels. The undeniable intensity of the mountain can be characterized anthropomorphically; it all depends on how your personal vibration is tuned. I view it with awe. It looks intelligent, but too wise to say anything.