Starting from Scratch

Recently, I met a good friend at the Sebastiani Winery in Sonoma for a picnic lunch.  As we sat down to eat, with the sun warming our skin, he handed me gifts from his garden: a bag of Meyer lemons and tasty citrus tangerines.  The lemons had their natural zest; the tangerines their pungent smell.  This  fresh fruit came from the fertile grounds he and his wife cultivated and grew from scratch. 

My friend shared aspects of his life, about his first home (a tear down) here in Sonoma in which he had to rebuild  from the ground up–from scratch, if you will.  I marveled at this undertaking, the blood, sweat and tears of years of hard work, but even more, at the finished product–a cozy Sonoma bungalow with a wrap around porch, garden, pool and Bocci court. 

One way or another, each and every day, whether it be the writing of a new blog or development of a story,  the making of a fine wine, the teachings of a child, the being there for a friend, the planting of seeds for the garden come spring, the trying of a new recipe, or the watching of the rising sun, falling moon, I look at each day as a life-start from scratch.  It’s a simple approach I know, and found it allows room for forgiveness for daily goofs, god-awful mistakes, unexpected regressions, but ensures new growth and new beginnings.  In this way, I live in the simple present, having less.

It was Jamie Lee Curtis who said in The Huffington Post Guide to Blogging, “I think we as a species are on a suicidal course, wanting more, having more, feeding ourselves and our children on ephemeral pleasures and poisons.”  

I’m far from being out of the woods in terms of simplifying life, my things, my obligations and interests.  It’s taking years to want less, own less, have less, but slowly, I am ridding myself of possessions I don’t need and letting go of what holds me back.  It’s a work in progress. 

I joke with my friends, that one day, all I’ll want is a cotton spool and a bare room to spool in like Gandhi, but in reality, my home in Sonoma surrounded by the simple things: child-like laughter, wine, silence, food and water, tree and flower blooms, birds and books, walks and talks, love, poetry and prayer will do just fine on my porch where I have two seats waiting for you and me. 

After I said good-bye to my lunch pal, he texted me later, offering up a carton of fresh eggs from chickens who feed off his  grounds from scratch.  Ain’t that a lot like life!

4 thoughts on “Starting from Scratch”

  1. Thanks Monica for you beautiful words and images. I took a walk with our dog this morning after leaving my car for a quick oil change. The sky was beautiful with clouds, blue sky, and ocean in the background. Walked by a very wider variety of homes, from little bungalows to “McMansions.” I played a game with myself that posed: what if “McMansions” were seen by popular society as what people HAD to live in if their couldn’t “afford” to live in the bungalows? I looked closely at each little beach community home and saw flowers, little bird houses, interesting and odd architecture, and found many a unique touch, color, design to enjoy. I agree with Jamie Lee, capitalism has got us a little out of whack. We live with so much beauty, freedom, and access to basics, and yet, it, to so many, it is never enough…as Mary Poppins so wisely said “‘enough’ is as good as a feast!”

  2. Nice writing with this blog: descriptive, meaningful, and “melodious.” I totally agree with you (and your sister, Nora) that simplicity to life adds meaning. “Enough is as good as a feast” when we take the time to enjoy the simple things in our lives. For me, this is watching the birds bathe in my outdoor fountain, walking the dogs before dinner, planting in the garden, working on creative projects, and sharing with friends in an open, candid manner. I am not sure, though, that I would like to be like “Gandhi in a bare room with a cotton spool;” you can do that! Looking forward to joining you on your porch in the wicker chairs one of these days especially when spring and warmth finally arrive!!

    Onward and upward as you strive for simplicity in your life as you “start from scratch” in 2012.


  3. Hi, turned onto your blog by your dear, wonderful sister and my friend. I’m enjoying your astute observations of life, your weaving of their connections to your soul and the levity in which you strive to exist…thanks.

    1. Dear Michele,

      I was just about to write a blog for this week, when your comment came through. Thank you for following my writings and life in the wine country. My sister has told me so much about you and your beautiful friendship. I am wanting to meet you. Would you like to have lunch or dinner together in the summer, perhaps? I wish you health, happiness, and peace!


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