We claimed new identities, and stepped back in time to the year 1846. Let me introduce:

John Muir is only 8, and his greatness and gift to the world is still unknown. He is a young trapper boy who can start a fire with flint and a piece of pottery.

Virgina Ann Parker, a young girl who came to the fort with her dad. Her dad makes friends with all the Indian chiefs, because he is a good man. She will be one of the many women entrepreneurs that makes California great.

Agathe Murray is a German immigrant, who married her Irish husband Ian Murray in New York. They both came down with fever on the way to California, Ian did not make it through, even though Agathe is an experienced herbalist and midwife. Unfortunately, her herbs were stolen on the trail by a loathsome criminal, and there were no herbs for her to pick under the snow…..

We are living temporarily at Sutter’s Fort.

I slaved away in the candle making station all day :), over a pot of hot wax, coughing like crazy because the smoldering smoke was giving me black lung…I am painstakingly making candles, one very thin layer at a time. Dipping, drying, dipping, drying, dipping, drying…hundreds of times..Each candle is coveted, and is only used when absolutely necessary. The candles are locked in a box, otherwise they would be looted by the critters who are attracted by the strong scent of animal fat.

Everyone, even the kids, pitch in as we bake bread in the large clay oven, chop the few root vegetables and meat for the stew. While we cook, the children make ropes for tack and tools.

After a long day, the adults get together to fetch their dinner. As they sit and socialize, the children gather for their dinner. Full bellies and laughter. Then it is time dance into the night…..

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Back to reality, California 163 years later.

After spending a day at Sutter’s Fort “iiving” as a pioneer, I am almost jealous of the simplicity of that time, despite the inconveniences & hardships.

One of the things that struck me was how attentive and willing to pull hard labor the children were. All ages. I am sure they would not be so zealous if they had to do it every day, but still. I also liked the idea of respecting and taking care of the elders first. This is something our society is lacking. At the end of the day, the adults and kids laughed and danced together, and I got a weird sense of community with people that I just met that morning. My kids were so happy jumping and dancing around, it almost made me sad that I cannot offer them this type of environment.

The fort life, though a bit more comfortable than out on the trail, was pretty rough. I am amazed how resilient people were. It makes me realize how spoiled, and soft, I am.

In preparation for Solstice and the New Year, we are still purging, and now “I” will make a conscious effort to simplify.

From now until New Year’s Eve, I will pick one opportunity to simplify.

Opportunity #1 : I will not commit to, or plan any new commitments for 3 months.

Happy Simplifying!

What I am reading: The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende

What I am grateful for: Opportunities

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