Alan Watts and Woodacre

Alan Watts and Woodacre

a flash memoir by Christie Nelson

I used to listen to Alan Watts broadcast for KPFA Berkeley when I lived in Woodacre. Whatever he said I lapped up like a kitten at a saucer of cream. What did it all mean? I couldn’t tell you.

But fog was swirling around the redwoods, the teapot was whistling, and I had limped away from a “dream” marriage to a blue blood on the East Coast who had abandoned me and our boys for a debutant.

Not into pot or LSD, I became a vegetarian. My high school boyfriend, now a gorgeous male specimen, found and adored me. I became a yoga teacher and dancer. You could do things like that in Marin County. Money grew on trees and you didn’t need much. My boys roamed the woods, played in the creek and rode their bikes.

But like Alan Watt’s bohemian enclave, Druid Heights*, the worm turned in the apple. The boyfriend was insanely jealous, it rained day and night, mold grew on the oaks and the landlord sold the dilapidated cottage. Out went the rent for $125 a month and I stepped onto the ladder of upward mobility, secreting a pouch of redwood needles into my nap-sack.



*Druid Heights info:

Photo courtesy of Michael Toivonen, Co-founder, Save Druid Heights.

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About the author:

Author Christie Nelson was born and raised in San Francisco. The beauty of Marin County and the majesty of Mt. Tamalpais captivated her. One part of her wanted to travel, another part wanted to dance, and yet another part wanted to write. In the end, they each won out. She lives with her husband in the Brewmeister’s House of the former San Rafael Brewery.


Christie’s novels:


Woodacre is a love story about two people perfectly wrong for each other. Set in rural Marin County, Woodacre captures the richness of the times, the beauty of the landscape, and the passion of an unforgettable love affair.




Dreaming Mill Valley, set in San Francisco Bay Area, portrays the emotional landscape of four ordinary people who rediscover the strength of friendship, the enduring bonds of family, and the resilience of the human spirit.




At the heart of this historical novel, as the march of boots echoes from overseas, is the magical and exotic Golden Gate International Exposition—it’s courts, buildings, pavilions, fountains, and gardens—engineered on shoals in San Francisco bay. Mixing fact and fiction with a dash of noir, Beautiful Illusion is a story of love and deception that explores what happens when human hearts collide as countries are plotting war.