Sunday, May 24, 2009

Crossing the Mountain

Perhaps you've heard that it's hot in Bakersfield. Summer starts in mid May and ends some time in October. Triple digits are the norm. When I moved here last October it was the tail end of 100+ weather. While job searching during August and September I came up to Bako from down south a few times a month and it was well over 100. This heat actually felt good to me. Trust me though, most people do not feel this way. For me, as long as the air is moving, I feel like I can breathe. At night when it seems hotter than the day, I simply keep the AC set at 85 or so and turn on a fan. That circulating air makes all the difference in the world.

As much as I may enjoy (or at least tolerate) the heat, my car (a very well maintained 1991 Toyota Corolla) does not. If it's over 85 degrees or so and if I don't turn the heater on full blast when driving up the mountains, the engine will overheat. The only problem is, driving in 100+ heat with the heater on full blast is a little bit of a torture. This fact makes trips to L.A. less attractive.

And that brings me to what is the hardest part for me living here. It's not the heat; It is that I do not yet feel part of a community. I know it's just going to take some time.

Making that kind of connection, at least for me, is important. Women need to connect with other women; it's in our DNA. We need these connections to feel whole, to counsel one another, to discuss those things our husbands have no interest in hearing about, and simply to chat and laugh together. I miss playing bid whist with my girlfriends. I miss my writing group and the sharing of our stories that brought us all so much closer together. I miss walking down the street in the neighborhood I lived in for so many years, and almost without fail running into a long time friend or new neighbor, and stopping for a few minutes to shoot the breeze. These small things, they are so great really, are often not appreciated enough.

As part of my mission to meet people, I've joined a writing group here in Bakersfield (Writers of Kern). I think this group will be helpful in terms of becoming a better writer and perhaps one day getting something published. I am thinking though of starting a new group, like the True Tales group I started in L.A., that isn't so much about the craft of writing as it is about sharing the small stories from our lives that we've written. Maybe something interfaith, or intercultural, or really interanything. This kind of sharing is such a wonderful way to gain deeper understanding, appreciation, and respect for one another. We can all use that, don't you think?

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