The art of being Californian, it seems, is to cultivate a loose-limbed insouciance while secretly working away like a frantic ant.

--Richard Fortey The Earth: An Intimate History

Friday, March 11, 2011

Long Way Home

You can end up with a day of blessings in ways that would never make it on the "blessings I expect" list. Certainly, I wasn't looking for any blessings on my first-long-drive-post-stupid-freeway-accident-while-leaving-the-city-I-love-to-return-to-a-town-I-am-ambivalent-about-potentially-driving-in-a-brutal-storm (snow! at 500ft in Southern California. That's just crazy, ya'll.).

But blessings come, whether we expect them or not. We just need to live (and drive) with our eyes open.

Here are a few of the wondrous things I saw on my way from San Diego to Monterey:

  • The brutal storm of the night before had scrubbed the air clean. Even LA, with its perpetually made-up and grimy face, was fresh and bright. For the first time, I could see its natural beauty--a white city nestled against stark hills and opened to a wide ocean. Towering clouds caressed the hills as they paraded across a gun metal blue sky. Even the sprawl almost looked beautiful.
  • Snow-covered hills, frost frozen, looked filigreed from fragile crystal. The lower hills, dusted with snow, were muscled and sinewy like the flanks of a silver stallion. The rocky crust looked like the hide of a great and powerful and vibrant beast. These hills transitioned to impossibly green (for Southern California) slopes, laced with shadow and light as the clouds danced around the sun on their cobalt dance floor. The fruit trees on either side of the highway added whimsy and sheer joy as their delicate blossoms responded to the sun or cowered from the passing rain.
  • Layers of rain curtains awaited me near Paso Robles. Once I passed through the first, it was like pushing through a room strung with grey gauze. The sun back lit the rain so that some of the curtains were opaque, hiding the world from view, while others gleamed silver and overlaid the green hills, still an improbable emerald.
  • Snow! Snow! In Paso. The whirling wisps streaked into my headlights in complex patterns like a throng of moths trained in military formation mobbing a flame.
  • Beyond Paso, I became transported to Ireland. So much green in the dying light. Ghost layers of hills tried on every variation of the color, only outshone by the silver clouds that seemed to possess a light source separate from that of the sun sinking behind them.
  • From Salinas to Monterey, the setting sun transformed the clouds from silver to purple-pink, lined with a fierce orange. Closer to Monterey, the cypress trees began to appear, clawing at the remaining light.

Sheer pleasure in the beauty of it all.

Don't forget to breathe.

No comments:

Post a Comment