Being

This is the first year we have lived outside a city. The past eight years we have lived in large metropolitan city, the first years of our post college life. Chicago was the direct destination after graduation. That is where we started out hustled two businesses, tons of side work and found ourselves.

Noe Valley San Francisco 2012

Noe Valley San Francisco 2012

We then moved to the heart of San Francisco. The pace has a chill mellow vibe but is an intense game of earning and one-uping each other with space at a premium. I can not implore this enough, it's a competitive boom or bust town.

Leif in our living room in Oakland 2014

Leif in our living room in Oakland 2014

When Leif was born we found ourselves in Oakland, thinking what we needed was a little more space. In reality we needed strong friends to surround us for those first two years.

Being is a hard thing. Just being. It's hard to embrace the quiet because sometimes we often find the truth of ourselves. Louie CK comedically cuts to the heart of it on the topic of smart phones - keep reading, the link is at the bottom. The truth of ourselves is quite messy and lonely. Only when it is exposed, we can see it, own it and react to it. 

We arrived to a home on 110 acres in November 2015. It's 10 minutes from the BART and a 20 minute commute to my office at GE. We found ourselves in a small corner of the Bay that is in the middle of nowhere. Our home is giant, though labeled the Gardener's Residence, we are quite humbled by it at the contrast of Bay Area housing. It literally took an act of God to get us here. 

Jessie fired me from our move. Work stress and fact of moving every year since 2001 made me a candidate for replacement. It's not sustainable folks. Jessie and I were recovering from the emotional stress from the birth of our son, his eye surgery a year later and the newness of our three human family. Needless to say, we arrived in rough shape. 

The space came with a few caveats: no internet access, no cell service, no tv signal and no noises. For anyone who has been in the city and spent a few nights in the middle of nowhere - the noises or lack of them are a bit deafening. But we have our phones right? Ha! It took us a few hours to realize where we had signal and where we did not. Zero bars in the house and no distractions from dealing with ourselves.  

The next morning we awoke to this:

Back window early November 2015 of the Gardener's Residence

Back window early November 2015 of the Gardener's Residence

That's when the healing began. Our friends now mostly live within 15 minutes of each other. Before we knew it they were swinging by unannounced, kiddo play dates, and the best dinners. For what it's worth, eating with friends is the definition of community. We ate, talked and drank together. Between community and silent space we started to let the tension fall, ourselves be known and to know each other. 

Yes we get busy, we still fight about stuff and we get distracted - I did fix the internet problem. But we are aware of it, we are aware of the importance of being and the importance of turning things off.

It can be quite simple. When Jessie started to garden, I knew things were going to be ok. 

Up on the ridge between Cull and Crow Canyon

Up on the ridge between Cull and Crow Canyon

Eric Stevens