5:15 AM. For me, this is late. The guard never arrived this morning to open the Pleassanton, CA, community pool. I waited until 6:15 AM and returned home. Now, I am off schedule and being swept into several directions at once while I pick up various tasks in random order to make the adjustment to a new timetable.
We bought the land about 17 months ago. Teri initially became interested in it while we looked for a mountain home with some acreage around it for me to have a large garden. We kept passing it while in the car with the real estate agent (their office is in the plaza at the bottom of the picture). You can not see the land very well from the road because of trees and an embankment that blocks the view somewhat. What Teri liked about it was the shape and length. She wanted to see if she could put an airstrip on it. Private pilots carry the sky experience around with them while they are on the ground and frequently see terra firma as merely a launch pad to the exhilaration of flying. I base this on observations I have made. I am not a pilot although I do fly with my wife.
In our search for a home, we found nothing that fit the dream we shared. In some cases the plot of land seemed excellent. In other cases the view was wonderful. A few homes seemed close enough to what we wanted that we could remodel one into a home that would be right for us. We were not looking for a large home. The square footage on our home now is a little more than 1,400 sq. ft. Primary in our criteria was that the home not be crowded by homes near by. I crave having open, natural space around me. I lived in New Mexico above 7,000 ft. from 1986 to 1996 and loved being there. That is the kind of experience I am looking for here with my wife.
So, we temporarily lost interest in the home hunting. We flew to Sina Lunga, Italy to attend the wedding of Teri’s brother in April of 2000. Remember the beginning of the dot.com bubble bust? Much of what we intended to go toward the new home was lost in the stock tumble. But, “it’s not about the money.” So we returned to the search with a different priority, investment value.
We checked and found that the property had not been sold yet. We made a bid and went to actually walk on the land after we had put down the earnest money. Up to that point we had only driven past the land. We dropped off the check with the realtors and went through the gate to discover what we were purchasing.
It was incredible, so peaceful. We have since learned that it is one of the healthiest alpine meadow ecosystems of its kind in the area. It sits at 3,000 ft. A 250 year old oak tree by the creek had fallen several months before we started our search and the trunk stands as a testimony to the powerful presence it must have commanded over the little valley. Red tail hawks circled above us calling and looking for gophers to eat. Golden strands of meadow grass swayed in the soft breeze. Sunlight covered each inch of the valley with a twinkling glow that almost sang to your eyes about the beauty of the natural world.
It captured my heart. On the springy soil I walked as though it was actually the clouds of an apparition. If there was a camera recording our walk around the land, I doubt it would have an appropriate aperture setting to encompass the width of the grin across my face.
We were so blessed. The land was magical and we were going to own it soon. We would have our open space and be close to our friends, Linda and Mick, living in nearby Pine Mountain Lake.
3-22-02 Thank the Lord. Thank you Jesus for every breadth I take and every wonder crowding this abundant land you made for us. As Micah said, (6:8)” He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?”
I only have time for a short start on the reference this week to Jefferson and Winthrop. The essential point of my alignment with these great leaders in this case, although I would expand to quite a few other agreements with Thomas Jefferson in particular, is their belief that people and the community would be best served if we kept our life groups small. That, to me, recognizes the inherent problems with maintaining the quality of an individual life when the size of the community becomes gigantic. It relates to a General Systems Theory which accepts the pattern of entropy and chaos. Let’s take these two thoughts and look at them.
First, Jefferson believed that the United States would be ideally constituted by small farmers. This can be expanded up the levels of government to include local counties through the state governments controlling the primary activities of keeping everyone’s rights safeguarded during their daily interactions. The principal role of the federal government would have been to maintain order between the states at the interstate level and in the defense of the nation against foreign powers. Governor Winthrop, of the Plymouth colony, stated simply that no church ought to be larger than a congregation. In both cases the ecology of the family, the community and the land they inhabit are very close to the problems and joys that their individual lives must deal with.
Today we face a system of such incredible complexity and size that individuals are dwarfed by their role and relationship to the nation. The energy necessary to support this overarching and overreaching system takes up a majority of our days. This can be supported by a simple look at the number of days wages in a year that go to taxes. This is not what our founding fathers envisioned. It is not the vision that the original Pilgrims held for a new Jerusalem when they crossed the Atlantic. It is a perversion in support of a Satanic affinity for a great system, a great machine or the “combine” that Kesey and Chief Bromden saw quite clearly.
I’m off to the pool.
5:45 AM. Mornings are typically are overflowing cavalcade of thoughts for me. “Need a dump truck, mama, to unload my brain” (Bob Dylan). Evenings are more of a slow glide into sleep without the snap, crackle and pop of awakening to a return to consciousness that makes the morning such a glorious event.
The purpose of this book is to chronicle the holistic experience of the planning and actual undertaking of the exodus. The tactical elements of the exodus involve the building of our home in the valley that can be seen in the professional photo gallery. We have not built a home on our own before. When we initially decided to make this happen we had additional funds that have disappeared courtesy of the dot.com bubble bursting. We will accomplish the exodus despite this new financial hurdle. God has a plan for us. And, in our prayers, as we listen for His guidance, we see this move as part of the plan.
If everything works out as planned, other readers will be able to follow the journey we have taken here and have a guide book on how they may follow a similar exodus out of the confines of our hedonistic society. That is the root cause of this mission. To flee the oppressive, ubiquitous invasion of our inner beings by what has become a global corporate mentality lacking any true commitment to what God has shown us is sacred. To flee the constant and increasingly torrential erosion of morality; Morality as God told us we ought to behave in this world He gave us. To flee the incarceration in a prison of new economic classicism that has become an epidemic in America and that we have spawned around the world. To flee what has been transmogrified into a decadent descent into this modern version of Caligula’s rumpus room. To follow Moses example and leave the material grasp of Pharaoh, our modern corporate combine. To heed Jesus’ warning to get to the mountains when we see the world overwhelmed with harbingers of an evil, Satanic rule.
This morning I am driving to the land to meet a prospective architect. We need to stake out the driveway leading to our planned location for the house. In order to have the well drilled for our water, the drilling company needs to have a road that will support their rig. It weights 25,000 lbs. and would sink into the soft soil around the house plot.
We also need to review the material sent to me by PG & E for the dropping of a power line to the lot. It has to be reviewed for accuracy in terms of location and specifications of electrical power. At this point, it is necessary to have it place so that the pump for the well will have power. Eventually, we also hope to install an inverter to sell back to PG & E the wattage generated by the active solar panels we would like to use.
From the beginning the plan for the house has been centered on having our lives and our home have a minimal dependence on power and financial commitment to the phalanx of power grids, transportation grids and food production networks. We are working to have this be practical rather than extreme but the goal is optimizing independence in supporting ourselves on our land. In pursuit of that goal, the house design will emphatically reflect both active and passive solar.
Today’s trip will take me 3 hours of driving to the property. It was raining so frantically last night that it woke us up and I fear there may even be flooding somewhere along the route.
We also have made revisions to the sketches the architect proposed. It is south facing with maximum glazing ( windows ) to capture passive solar energy. The view provided by that orientation is awesome. The valley rolls down from the small knoll our house will sit on to the creek, pond and rolling meadows of the west bank.
If it’s not about the money, what is it about? God’s eternal love.
Too much of the priceless value of our temporary existence on this planet is spent on the acquisition, consumption or anticipation of material sources of supposed satisfaction. The focus of our attention is fixed upon the ever multiplying choices for gaining pleasure from “things.” We are drowning under the incessant waves of technological progress that are engorging us with images to tickle our desires. We spend the treasured currency of our true lives, that is the temporary piece of eternity that is allotted us while we are beings in this world, on the devilish pursuit of cars, awards, perceived sexual gratification and untold numbers of pleasure destinations conceived in the minds of the collective corporate marketing genius. The jewel of real value is lost. Being thankful and cognizant of the blessing God has granted us by allowing each person the moments our souls can savor in awareness of being guests in this wonderland, is forsaken.
If it’s not about the money, it is about finding a way to live that allows us to honor God’s eternal gifts to us. This exodus seeks a path to living in God’s as He has commanded us. It is about walking in and being continually aware of our presence in His eternal love no matter what our current material circumstances seem to say about the state of our current circumstances. To accomplish this walk requires that our vision be centered on what is illuminated by an eternal light not what flashes at centers of sensory reception from the TV, billboards and the raucous parade of temptations we are bombarded with today. Eternal love is very simple, from the second epistle of John, verses 2-6,
For the truth’s sake, which dwelleth in us, and shall be with us forever.
 Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.
 I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.
 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.
 And this is love, that we walk after his commandments.This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it.
Leaving at 7:15 yesterday morning I was able to get to the valley by 10. For significant stretches of the drive I was pelted by extremely heavy rain. Before I left the peninsula I passed into the most glorious rainbow I have ever seen. The color bands were broad and vivid. I found no pot of gold when I reached the end of the rainbow. I was carrying the pot of bliss within me.
I stopped first at the realtor’s office. I really enjoy talking with them about what is going on up in the hills there. While I was there getting a couple of copies, the architect hopeful arrived. We talked about the vacation voyages on cruise ships, as well as the trip Teri and I had taken to Chile. As typically happens the architect talked about flying planes.
My wife, Teri, is a pilot. Although Teri was not with me on this trip we still ended up taking about flying. I listened, again, as the architect retold the story of a Groveland pilot who made his last, farewell flight in command of 747 from Hawaii and lost 8 passengers and 1 flight attendant when the planes hull cracked open over the Pacific. I remembered when that story broke. He had to get the plane back on two engines. I confirmed that our direct neighbor, Paul Bunt, who lives on the left hand side of the valley, used to fly C-130’s. I often get the feeling I am surrounded by pilots who are ready at a moments notice to drop everything and fly up into the sky in their Cessna’s, Cherokee’s and Lear Jets even as their feet are planted on the ground next to me.
I managed to break the conversation away from the piloting related stories and we drove the mile up the road to do a site visit to determine the location of the driveway. One of the difficulties of building a home so far away is that it takes 6 hours by car round trip to be there. By plane the trip last only an hour or so each way. To stake out a driveway location you need to be there. So, we were fortunate that the rain let up to a soft drizzle while we agreed on where the driveway should come onto the ridge off of the county road. Then we confirmed how it should lead to the point where the well will be drilled. Following this twenty minute effort we went back down the road a mile to the local restaurant, Rosemary’s Café, for lunch and our discussion about revisions Teri and had come up after reviewing Sean’s drawings.
The architect had a BLT with cream of potato soup and I had the pastrami on rye special with Swiss cheese and coleslaw. Immediately after lunch, I disembarked on the three hour return drive to the East Bay area and our rental home in Livermore.
On the drive back home, I saw an SUV that moments earlier rolled off the pavement, down a steep 100 ft. slope and came to rest upside down in a meadow 50 yards from the side of the highway. A police officer was kneeling beside the overturned car peering into the window as an ambulance came roaring up the road to join him. So many of us are going too fast these days and far too many of us are ending up upside down, crippled inside and out.
There is no better time to take the first step in your escape plan than today. It can be depressing and surprising how long it actually takes to actualize your departure even after you have already made the decision that you must get away from the concrete jungle.