Home Range: California’s Central Coast

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I haven’t spent much time in Gilroy over the years, but it’s familiar territory: of the Central Coast, Steinbeckian, the geographical area between it and the coast shaped by parallel faultlines and the resulting Santa Cruz Mountains.
‘Over the hill,” aka Mt. Madonna, is the Pajaro Valley, the agriculturally rich area named for the river that separates Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties. I grew up here and while I have little family left in the area and rarely visit, it’s home in that way that is bone deep. Seemingly every inch of the roads we drove through the apple orchards and past my old elementary school were familiar.
The air smelling of madrone and oak and sun-warmed apple trees, bird songs of hawks and towhees, the occasional slow moving truck towing farm equipment. Spending your first 18 years somewhere is formative whatever way you slice it — but it was the first time I’d come through the area without the weight of a family visit and I could see it with clearer eyes.
There were a few more houses, the donut shop was now a taqueria,  the school had added some satellite buildings but the clumps of redwood trees at certain turns in the road, the forestry station before a certain set of curves in a road, and the Corralitos Market (which I remember as much for its 2-cent candies than it’s now-famous smoked meats) were still there, providing equal parts support and back-drop to area residents.
The pace was still slow, a pace I’d felt maddening while growing up, but which I could appreciate a bit more now.


Deborah Crooks
Deborah Crooks (www.DeborahCrooks.com) is a writer, performing songwriter and recording artist based in San Francisco whose lyric driven and soul-wise music has drawn comparison to Lucinda Williams, Chrissie Hynde and Natalie Merchant.

Singing about faith, love and loss, her lyrics are honed by a lifetime of writing and world travel while her music draws on folk, rock, Americana and the blues. She released her first EP "5 Acres" in 2003 produced by Roberta Donnay, which caught the attention of Rocker Girl Magazine, selecting it for the RockerGirl Discoveries Cd. In 2007, she teamed up with local producer Ben Bernstein to complete "Turn It All Red" Ep, followed by 2008's "Adding Water to the Ashes" CD, and a second full-length CD "2010. She's currently working on a third CD to be released in 2013.

Deborah's many performance credits include an appearance at the 2006 Millennium Music Conference, the RockerGirl Magazine Music Convention, IndieGrrl, at several of the Annual Invasion of the GoGirls at SXSW in Austin, TX, the Harmony Festival and 2009's California Music Fest, MacWorld 2010, Far West Fest and many other venues and events. She toured the Northwest as part "Indie Abundance Music, Money & Mindfulness" (2009) with two other Bay Area artists, and followed up with "The Great Idea Tour of the Southwest in March 2010 with Jean Mazzei.
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One Response to Home Range: California’s Central Coast

  1. central coast photographer April 13, 2012 at 4:19 am #

    Amazing place. I think this is a good venue for some special events. Thanks for sharing this.

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