A walk in the Golden State

The Tipsy House


Day 155 / 938 Miles

“LA’s fine but it ain’t mine”. Neil Diamond’s words are true when comparing LA County to Lowndes. The City of Angels might connote well behaved citizens (all beautiful of course) walking streets of gold…Welll, not exactly. It certainly has its share of devilish acts perpetrated on a backdrop of urban grit. But one thing it does have that we don’t is a climate that produces a bounty of flora thats unseen in our quadrant. It’s everywhere. “She’s like a Rainbow”. We in the Southeast, tend to mostly just get weeds that volunteer to grow anywhere and everywhere, while the “weeds” of the West Coast often yield color. That surprises me a bit when you consider the appearance of the Southeast in satellite photos. Theres a verdant brush stroke created by an incessant moisture wash from the Gulf of Mexico, creating a tropical hothouse. But, the operant word I think is HOT. It seems even flowers find it withering. Of course we can grow flowers that’re acclimated to our clime but all of mine (and I’ve grown a few) don’t volunteer, they tend to require that I impose a sort of compulsory selective service, after which they out-process quickly. The temperate climate of South California with its seaside vistas, dessert postcards, mountains that gob smack, and the most fertile agricultural valley in North America combine to create an American Eden. And, there’s a whole lot goin’ on out there to capture one’s attention (and money).

So, why would I invoke Neil Diamond when comparing our stand of longleaf to LA? It’s probably best answered by comparing the City of Angles to that city of Magic in Anaheim; or to be more exact, DisneyLand. I like DisneyLand, but I’m not sure I want to live there. Dorothy felt the same way when offered the choice between farm-life and Oz (of course the latter would’ve necessitated her death, so the choice probably was an easy lift). Theres something alluring about getting to slip back into the slower currents of home, just to look forward to returning for a dive back into that urban whitewater.

Walking out there? It’s commensurately tantalizing. I did some urban trekking and the shear quantity of stuff to gaze on was like the big end of the Horn of Plenty. I could do the same 9 miler again and be equally engrossed at a slate of unnoticed curio. Kansas, it ain’t. I did some wilderness walking too, on the Stone Ridge Trail in the Los Padres National Forrest. I found myself frequently saying “wooow”, as if I hadn’t just seen the same mountain coastline 3 minutes before. The exertion of hoisting myself to those lofty places to take in the beauty is the stuff pure joy is made of. Finally, I walked in the hillside neighborhoods of Eagle Rock, Highland Park, and Boyle Heights where my daughter lives. It felt like I was walking in a 3-D Escher drawing, where streets peeled off at impossible angles, places, and directions, and always at ridiculously steep grades. Thank goodness for GPS, or I’d prolly still be bumping round in that fun-house -o- mirrors.

I remember looking out from the Griffith Observatory and being awestruck at the vastness of the LA  sprawl. The grid of lighted streets went for as far as the eye could see, in all directions. If I were to ever move to LA, mostly it would be to walk those endless streets. And I would never get bored.

Let’s go for a walk.