Moving to the mountains of northern California twenty years ago, a re-wilding has occurred. There has been subtle permission to become more of who I am. One obvious change has been to my wardrobe. When I first moved here, my closet was filled with the clothing I wore while working in downtown San Francisco. It soon became obvious that these clothes were not practical for life in the mountains. I had a fondness for some of these tailored clothes–the neatly pleated fuschia skirt. The black belt with the gold and silver cranes intertwined on the wide buckle. The knee-high boots with a slight heel–a bit of cool esteem. The black and white checked tailored suit paired with the raw silk blouse. The fitted, stylish dresses in my favorite colors–turquoise, deep red, navy blue with polka dots, a few soft pastels–each one fit a mood of the day. Some were concealing, others modestly revealing.
These clothes didn’t come out of the closet once I moved to Mount Shasta! Each year, I shed more of them. They were traded for practical and comfortable jeans and tee-shirts. I searched for the best hiking boots or running shoes–comfort and hardiness are everything. In the winter, it becomes about layering. I ordered silk leggings and tops. Long-sleeved cotton shirts, wool sweaters and vests. Waterproof outerwear, down jackets. I didn’t miss trading nylon stockings for the sturdy cotton, and wool sock blends. I knitted myself a few hats that I could tug down over my ears, and scarves wrapped up under my chin. Mittens, a variety as, like socks, there was often one missing. Of course, come summer, all of this was shed for the comfort of light cotton and less is more as the temperature rises into the 90’s or 100’s. A serviceable swimsuit for dunking in one of the many lakes.
I wonder, Do clothes make the woman? Or, am I being tailored by my environment?
Living in the mountains brings out an inherent spirit of adventure that had been dormant. Where does this trail lead? And that one? What hidden lake is waiting for me to discover it? The falling in love with where I live. The beauty that lures me. The trail that winds and I wonder what’s around the next curve, up that hill, over that ridge…I must follow.
I encountered this bear on a river trail a few days ago. We were a comfortable distance apart as he posed for a few photos.