I was shopping recently at Chico, California’s Saturday Farmer’s Market when this bearded blonde guy came up to me, shook my hand, and said, “Hi. I’m John. I’m your redeemer.”
“Are you?” I asked, somewhat baffled.
“Do you want me to anoint you?” he sincerely said.
“Not particularly, no,” I answered, and he walked away, apparently surprised that I hadn’t taken his offer seriously.
I wrote a lot about the situation of being a bioregionalist who needs to move for financial and other practical reasons. My partner Kate and I have been living in Chico for three months now. It is surprising that many people from the Bay Area do not know this pocket of North Eastern California, but we want to keep it that way… shhh. We don’t want it to be flooded with refugees. We are at the northern part of the Sacramento Valley. The Coastal Mts. are very visible to the west, and the Cascades and northern Sierra Nevada to the east.
The climate and terrain are very different from what we are used to, but there are many animal and plant species that we know well. Bidwell Park, the HUGE city park abounds with oaks, acorn woodpeckers, California quail, swallowtail butterflies and many other species we know well. Mt. lions and black bears make their way through here too. The geology of this region is really complex and interesting – rock formations include deposits from an ancient inland sea, volcanic flows, and stream deposits. Bidwell Park is well known for its high cliffs, and the canyon dug by Big Chico Creek.
The wildlife populations here change with the seasons, as they do in many places. When we first got here in early December, the wetlands were full of snow geese, white fronted geese, pintail ducks, and many others. The snow geese are very noisy, and when they are disturbed by a predator like a bald eagle, they take to the air by the thousands (literally) until the danger is past. Many of the other migratory birds are more nonchalant, they stay in the wetlands and seem to be asking the snow geese, “What’s with you?” The winter migrants have left, we are now inundated with wildflowers and nesting birds. I will post more.
Chico is a university town with a population of about 90,000. It is a relatively liberal to left town – there was a big Women’s March here in January, and there are more community groups than you can count. There are literary readings, a reperatoiry cinema, a good theatre group, many music venues, and much more. It is a comfortable and very enjoyable place. It’s hard to know how to sum up three months in one blog post, but here you are! I will be sharing more observations, and will try to stick with it. So much to reflect on in these times, and it’s interesting to be looking at it all from a new place. Stay tuned.