Since it's been exactly two months since I've written here, it seemed appropriate to write again. The internet here is sloooooow, I tell you. When I went out, and could use my cell phone service again, and it took merely seconds to check my email, I thought surely something was amiss. The other day I had about 20 minutes before the next thing on my schedule, and I had a couple of bills to pay online. In the outside world that would have been ample time. Here, I only managed to get logged in to the first website, and even then the page had not loaded correctly, before the 20 minutes was up and I had to give it up as a bad job and try again later.
Despite that, however, this place is growing on me in ways I did not expect. We now have enough power that we get hot water every day, though I must admit it's been a little weird adjusting to taking a shower daily. The place has its institutional quirks, like anywhere, and without guests the goldfish bowl gets a little claustrophobic at times, but overall there is much grace in this valley, and the people and the critters keep even the day to day monotony interesting.
The wildlife is now out in full force since the weather has warmed up (not as much as I'd like) and the snow is all gone and grass and trees and flowers are growing, so one must always keep an eye out for ambitious chipmunks and squirrels and over-curious deer. The chipmunks and squirrels are not afraid to steal food from you if you aren't paying attention, and they'll sidle up innocently as soon as you look away so that they are nearly in your lap when you look back.
I did learn about the squirrels; they are ground squirrels, and have similar coloring and markings to the chipmunks, and at first I thought there was something wrong with the chipmunks in this part of the world, so I was greatly relieved when I found out they are actually squirrels. It was almost like putting the world right side up again. Mutant chipmunks are a bit frightening, but ground squirrels are cute. So there's that sorted out.
I also have now visited Seattle, which was nice, though not terribly impressive in a lasting way. And I've experienced the daze of having left the Village and realizing just how big and commercial and noisy the outside world is. (let out on good behavior, as we like to joke around here) Even the grocery store gets overwhelming. Why, why are there so many different kinds of peanut butter? Or ketchup? What purpose does that serve besides sowing chaos?
So I suppose it's true, one generally leaves this place changed. I didn't really come looking for it, so I can't say if that would make it more powerful, but even the skeptic can find something new if even a tiny opening allows it to sneak in.