Looking out at the winter weather bombarding our coastline, I always imagine what it was like to be here 20,000 years ago. How did those Native Americans face the extremes, the rain, the waves, the cold, the hunger?
And why, when in fact we are occupying their land, do we not pay them more tribute.
That’s why I was so happy that Mark C. Anderson chose to write about our earliest settlers. I know their struggles don’t compare to the Natives who lived in the plains, with hotter and colder temperatures. That’s possibly why the Western natives were more peaceful than their Midwest cousins.
I also know how soft most of us have become. Even in what John Muir called the “gentle wilderness,” I know I would last like four days without any modern comforts. How would you fare?
I was lucky enough at an earlier age to be a ranger at Yosemite and part of my training included three-day solos in bear country and three days in a snow cave I had to build with three fellow campers. I felt so accomplished, but looking back, I had Gore-Tex, great supplies, a tent and clothing so warm that standing in the snow in the sun it felt like I was on the beach and had to take off my shirt.
There was one solo where we couldn’t bring food or books and that was really trying. I had to catch fish to survive, and managed to fall off a log into an icy river trying it, completely unsuccessful.
But I knew at the end I could hit the Ahwahnee and score an ice cream sundae.
Every minute in the wilderness I appreciated the struggles of the Native Americans who pioneered our area and the Eastern settlers who followed. I still do, from my comfortable Santa Cruz home.
I also think about Lewis and Clark and loved their diaries and at one point tracked their path on a cross-country bicycle trip. I’m always amazed they wouldn’t eat salmon with the Natives in Oregon, thinking it was a garbage fish and preferred dogs instead. Yuck. How times have changed.
Enjoy Mark’s article as you stay out of the rain and imagine, if you will, you were back there. How would you survive?
Then treat yourself to his picks for local restaurants, 10 of which he rounded up in the last issue in a story called A Year of Yum (https://www.goodtimes.sc/a-year-of-yum/) and more in the issue you are holding.
Sweet dreams, great eats and happy new year!
WHO,WHO? Soquel great horned owlets nicknamed “the twins.” PHOTO:Glenn Kulm
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Our Community Reads, a Santa Cruz organization featuring notable books and authors, is celebrating its 7th year with a host of presentations, including a visit from writer Dave Eggers and the protagonist of his book The Monk of Mokha. It has grown from being sponsored by just The Friends of the Aptos Library to now include sponsorship by four other Friends groups: La Selva Beach, Capitola, Scotts Valley, and Felton.
Good Times is planning a big story on the organization and its 14 presentations for 2024.
January as National Mental Wellness Month. Recent research by National Alliance of Mental Illness has found that as much as 46% of people who die by suicide had a known mental health condition. As much as 55% of adults with a mental illness receive no treatment, and 60% of youth with major depression also do not receive treatment. Some of the most common mental health conditions are PTSD, Depression, Panic Disorder, and Eating Disorders. People who suffer from these conditions are at a higher risk of suicide than those who do not.
The Jason Foundation, Inc., www.jasonfoundation.com,is a resource that provides information on what to look out for if you have a friend or loved one struggling with their mental health.
“All of us every single year, we’re a different person. I don’t think we’re the same person all our lives.”