California is spooky, unexplainable. It’s not eerie so much—which I think of as vaguely threatening—at least not the parts I’ve seen, and that’s what fooled me at first. I don’t do eerie, and when I find myself someplace like that, I leave. California can be spooky in bright sunshine when it’s 110 degrees, a unique condition in my experience. I can do spooky in sunshine, and now I love it.

People would tell me often when I first got here about sacred places, special places, places where unexplained things happen, where your heart sings, where you weep, maybe at the same time. Places like that are all over California. I think that’s partly why so many people want to be here. We love those vortexes, like good drugs.

I lived in Minnesota for 18 years, and people there treat Californians like another species, one that lost its way and strayed so far off course that it landed in Minneapolis, of all places. People who have so much sunshine their skin actually changes color, like an aging banana.

Back there I thought California was a hotbed of freaky-deaky religions and cults and whatnot. Californians could believe anything, based on my sample of maybe half a dozen people I knew well enough to talk to on the phone where they wouldn’t hang up on me. As an escaped Episcopalian, I thought the various wackos’ beliefs in mediums and channels and shamans as benign, and thoroughly conclusive, evidence of some wide-spread mental deficiency, probably from fluorescent lights.

Then some years ago my sister-in-law persuaded, and then arranged for, me to talk to a medium—who was in California, of course. A very astute and thoroughly accurate medium, long distance, no less.

Then there was my first astrologer, who knew me way too well to make any sense and made me laugh, too. Stereotypes are based on somebody’s truth, so I was expecting a new age when I moved here three years ago. I got it. Everything they said about California is true, and some more besides.

The first family I met in Chico included two ministers, which should have been the tip-off. When I went to a place that looked like a church and nobody mentioned Jesus even one time, I knew I wasn’t anywhere near Minnesota. I had moved to someplace altogether different, off the edge of something.

Now I’m a wacko, too.

I attend to what I think about things and pretty much ignore the rest. I don’t even remember the Ten Commandments, although you’ll notice I still capitalize them.