We moved to El Tremedal in October 2017.
Who and Where were we before the move? Who knows, but he ain’t tellin’.
No names here, okay? Where? Maybe. Whats and Whens, certainly. Whys? Likely they are found in the subtext. Details are littered throughout the posts.
My wife and I (or is it “my wife and me”?) enjoyed a pretty enviable lifestyle in a very big city in the USA. We were teachers. Both of us. She at a prestigious university, and me? I taught literature and film-making at a private arts high school. While our salaries were not great, we had enough money and loads of “time-off” — 3 months off in the summer, almost a month at Christmas, weeks off here and there, and numerous long weekends.
We both taught motivated, engaging, and sometimes interesting students, our colleagues were terrific, and our admin left the teaching to the teachers.
To add to the misery of good fortune, we owned a 3 flat in a gentrifying neighborhood of the not-mentioned, very, big city. I bought it in the mid-90’s amid gangs, gunshots, artists, and coffee shops. The property was a bit broken, but the gentle breeze of gentrification allowed refi opportunities — slowly the repairs and upgrades came. In the meanwhile, I walked to work, graded my papers in edgy coffee shops, and felt the gentle breeze become a gust of land-grabs. The neighborhood transitioned to satisfying the weekend dreams of the upwardly mobile, gorgeous, and soon-to-be wealthy (or hip, already wealthy) people that gravitate to trendy, city neighborhoods.
Each summer we traveled West. Driving as fast as we could through the plains, we reached the Rockies and allowed ourselves a deep breath. These summer adventures were spurred by our work on a documentary. The community we chronicled is based in northern California. We spent six years interviewing and filming core members. These working vacations introduced us to the West.
Along the way, we became care-takers of a gold claim in the Sierra Nevadas. Another whim. Another adventure. As we learned the art of gold panning, we camped in the mountains. The grandeur of pine trees. The impressive mountains. The silence.
As one summer became another, it became difficult to return. We would extend the car rental lease. Figure out how to delay the journey east. We returned to the city as strangers. Underlying emotions were stirred, and these emotions steered our thoughts toward escape from the miseries of our comfortable fortunes.