Aug. 27, 2013 — During the August meteor showers my husband, Terry, and I drove to the Swain Mountain Snowmobile Park and set up comfortable camp chairs so we could lean back and view the night sky. The show was better than fireworks. We could not suppress our excitement each time we caught the brilliant streak of a “shooting star.”
The middle of the forest is perhaps the best place to view a meteor shower, but driving up the mountain late in the evening was a choice. There is that tendency not to make the effort because the next day you will be short of sleep, or it is too cold, or the night sky might disappoint, etc.
I hear complaints about rural living and comments that there is nothing to do. Yet often I attend a worthwhile event and find few have decided to take advantage of the opportunity.
That was the case with two workshops I went to in July at the Westwood Community Center. I could not take notes fast enough at a gardening workshop taught by Melissa McCoy and Patricia Ward, from Every Bloomin’ Thing. This summer was my first attempt at growing vegetables, and I plan to put many of the lessons I learned at the workshop into practice next year. Also I attended an emergency preparedness workshop receiving both information and a grab-and-go kit from the American Red Cross. The small fires started by lightning around Westwood the third week in August reminded me of the importance of being prepared for potential disasters.
There are sporting events, symphonies, outdoor concerts, nearby state and federal parks, guided nature walks and workshops. I have not explored a fraction of the places that attract tourists to this area even though I have lived here 12 years. This spring I visited North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve near Oroville during the wildflower bloom and I kayaked at Ahjumawi Lava Springs State Park near McArthur this summer. I was unaware of both places until this year.
Once I heard a group of adults discussing the limitations of the area for young people. They were under the impression hobbies and pursuits were divided along age lines. For example, gardening and bird watching were not activities youth should pursue. Yet how does a young person discover a passion that might become a career? Bug collecting could lead to a career in entomology and chasing dragonflies to a major in odonatology. When exploring activities at any age it is a good idea to follow the philosophy many parents have when it comes to foods they want their children to eat. “Try it,” they say. “If you don’t like it you don’t have to eat it.”
My husband and I create a “bucket list” of sorts for each summer. It includes places to kayak, bicycle, hike and tour.
Each year climbing Mt. Lassen makes the list but so far we have not taken that hike.
As Labor Day approaches and fast behind it fall, I hope you will join me in embracing all the opportunities this area offers during the upcoming months and into winter.
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