Daily Archives: August 26, 2011

Monte Rio, California

I just returned from ten days in Monte Rio, California, for our family summer vacation.  Monte Rio is a small town (population 1,150) located next to Guerneville, near the Napa Valley.  In years past we’d spend a couple of nights away because that  was all we could afford.  Then last year we discovered that our friend’s mother rents out her house on the Russian River in Monte Rio, for an extraordinarily low price.  We grabbed the opportunity and stayed there in 2010 for seven days.  This year we rented it for ten days. What’s confusing to me is this:  Why, just when you’re starting to relax and getting that “ahhh” feeling, is the vacation over?  Now I’m wondering whether we’ll have to take a month off to finally release our minds and bodies of the daily stressors we bring with us.

Is living in suburbia causing this stress?  Should we move to a rural area with limited internet access and fewer job opportunities to eradicate the constant BUZZ infiltrating our lives every minute of every day?  I don’t know the answer, but it’s a question that’s really bothering me…causing me more stress.

I’d wake up every morning in Monte Rio and listen to the birds singing in the trees outside the array of windows facing the backyard, no sounds of cars or motorcycles drowned out nature’s cacophony.  A thick blanket of fog weaved through the wall of trees surrounding the back deck.  I’d tip-toe downstairs, my invisible footsteps muffled in the thick carpet covering the stairs, pull aside the sliding glass door leading to the back deck, and step outside into the cool 60 degree morning. Between the trees rimming the yard, not more than forty feet away, the very lazy Russian River flowed by, its surface smattered with tiny sparkles from the morning rays of the sun.

One morning I was in the kayak in the middle of the river, just staring at the water ahead of me, and realized the scenery on the river’s surface mirrored exactly the surrounding habitat I’d been enjoying while paddling down the river.  I’d seen pictures like that but had never experienced it before.  It was breathtaking.

Is it possible to feel this same relaxation back at home?  Is it possible to recapture that “ahhh” feeling while sitting on the couch with my laptop?  I think if I was in Monte Rio right now I wouldn’t be experiencing the writer’s block that has stood like a wall in front of my face each time I sit down to write my next book.  So, should I surround my work area with pictures of the Russian River? Frankly, I don’t think that’s gonna cut it.  Is it possible to regain that peace at home?  Suggestions anyone?

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