Monday, April 8, 2013

What I did in Bakersfield...

So, it's time to account for my time here in Bakersfield, and answer the question I know is burning in the brains of all my followers: Why did I stop posting on my blog?

First, you need to know something about Bakersfield, famous in country music for Buck Owens and Merle Haggard: it is famous for Buck Owens and Merle Haggard.  That's about it. There really aren't many more distinctions one could ascribe to it.  But let me name a few.

It has a river flowing through it, the Kern, that is turned on and off at various times: holiday seasons, maybe some few months in summer for swimming in its sandy bottom, and for special occasions, such as the weekend hosting of the "Tour de California" bicycle race.

Along the rim of the escarpment that dominates the northeast quadrant of the city runs the walking path called 'Panorama Trail.' The distant views it offers of the central California Sierra Nevada Mountain Range are spectacular (on the five or six pollution-free days Bakersfield endures); the view it offers every day, in the foreground, is of a huge oilfield, over 100 years old and still producing the crude. That field, with its storage tanks, and a small refinery, runs through the heart of Bakersfield.

The main attraction of Bakersfield, attested to by newcomers and natives alike, is that Bakersfield is no more that 2 to 3 hours from any place you want to be except Bakersfield: Los Angeles, San Francisco, the central coast, or the mountains, including of course Sequoia and Yosemite.

I arrived here in Spring of 2011, ready for a one-year stay.  That was the understanding I had of my wife's signing on for the tour.  My books were all packed up, some in our garage,but must in storage in Dallas.  The move occupied my time and energy for a couple of months; then it was off to Sweden for the wedding of our daughter, followed by a couple of wedding receptions in the States for the many family and friends who could not make the trip.  And it was November!  I had not posted once!  I couldn't make myself unpack the books. I was disoriented.

I did find a stash of paper and a pen, however, and did what I had always done in such circumstances: I sat down and began writing--this time a memoir.  I had thought about it for a few years.  I mean in general terms, nothing specific. Aided by the lessons I learned from being a member of a fellowship, whose names shall remain anonymous, I took stock of all that I had experienced, and began to describe that for what and for whom I was grateful. About 195 hand-written pages, and 14 months later I had made the journey. (Sometime this fall, after settling in a new location--yet to be decided--I will up-load it as an e-book for those who are interested.)

Oh, I forgot to mention one more thing about Bakersfield: it was there I wrote the book I would like to be remembered for.  I will always have fond memories of the town.


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