I live in a remote location in the Los Padres National Forest. It is beautiful here, with a full four seasons. The snow can be deep, the road are sometimes closed, locking us away for days at a time. Many people who live up here use wood burning stoves or fireplaces as their primary heating element. The smell is lovely. We are about a mile above sea level, the air is thin. The stars are more visible when one is so far from the city lights. It is pretty here. It is quiet.

We are located 40 miles from the nearest "city." More than 40 to a proper hospital. I wouldn't want to live here if I were pregnant. It's far, no doubt. You could plan a home pregnancy complete with midwife. We have yoga classes up here (no less than three competing teachers) and many shaman. But if anything went awry it would quickly become so dangerous. Years ago when my husband was in a car accident he had to be flown by helicopter to the nearest hospital, the bill was over $20,000.oo. Yikes. So rural living is definitely not for everyone. You have to have a bit of a sense of adventure and a willing to take responsibility attitude. For example, once you are snowed in, no one is coming to save you. Some of my neighbors have little snow blowers or bobcats, some just shovel, some stay in.

What do I love about Mt Pinos? The view is extraordinary. On a clear day you can see Mt Whitney. The trails are numerous in the area, many so smooth you can take small children and dogs. Some so remote you won't run into any one. Some times you run into people you didn't expect to meet: flute player, shaman, drummer, naked hiker, you just never know. Good to keep a sense of humor about it all. Any small community has it's characters. We have Dopey and Lucky at the local post office, two strange girls who don' speak to anyone. More on them at another time.

The nearest town, Bakersfield CA is famous for a terrible disease called "Valley Fever." VF will kill you if you are very young, very old, or if your system is compromised. You can live with it, but the first round will lay you low for months and it will live in your system ever after. Many people leave our rural area to move to the city in search of jobs. Especially after the cost of gas spiked. But the cost of that effects your health. In addition to Valley Fever, city pollution puts one at risk for cancer. Think of living in beauty as a cancer prevention move.

Consider lowering your stress level as a cancer prevention move. Sitting in traffic stressful. Constant noise, even the low hum - mixed level noise of a city - is stressful, let alone loud yelling. Worrying about crime and seeing ugly graffiti is all stress producing. In the country you can ride a bike, play with dirtbikes, ride horses, have lots of dogs, go hiking. The kids may complain there's nothing to do, give them the gift of learning how to entertain themselves. It is a gift that will stay them in good stead all of their lives.

I love the quiet here when I am walking alone in the wilderness. Sometimes I see wild animals: deer, bear, bobcats, owls. The beauty is startling. The bears I have seen were much larger than my car, powerful and beautiful. The cougar was lithe. The deer placid, ears twitching. Rabbits are everywhere. Mt Pinos was supposed to be the center of the world to the Chumash people. It was a sacred place. There are people up here who play at ritual. You don't have to, though, you can just enter the silence. Your heart knows what the heart wants