Wednesday, April 23, 2014

"...And what is that, besides something spelled out in light bulbs, I mean - besides something called a temperament..."

When I was young and living in Los Angeles, I would think a lot about what the city and its neighborhoods must have looked like years before my time.
I would hear interesting stories, often when I was hunting for a new apartment.  I mostly wanted to rent guest houses, or parts of large apartments that were sectioned off to make a bit of extra cash.  There was usually a long chat with the person showing the apartment, and I would hear about areas that were once all farm land, full of citrus trees.  I would hear about trains that once went right down what was not some large road full of cars.

The reclaiming of downtown, has created the opportunity to get at least a good look at some of the buildings- older theatres are also being used more for shows and part of the appeal is being able to see inside the buildings.
Hotels like 'The Ace' have opened up.  Neighborhoods that were always nice pockets surrounded by areas that were less so are now all connected so one can just walk from one area to another.

I feel good downtown, because the area has changed as much as I have.

"...I'm a stranger here myself..."

The other day I remember how a friend of mine, who has lived in Los Angeles her entire adult life- while I although moved with her at the same time to L.A., did not stay.
On a trip, back to L.A. from the Northwest, while I was talking about my love of the area, she got very snappish about my comments.  I wasn't trying to detract from the charms of L.A., but I had definitely changed - personally- I had given a larger part of myself over to a state that was not California.
This in a way, is like defecting to another country.
Now, around ten years after I did actually leave the country, I think I have again changed in some integral way - moved not just physically but mentally away from the place of my origins.
I feel parts of myself that will always be rooted in some of the customs, and I feel different from the people I meet that have only ever visited the U.S. but at the same time I feel separate from not one of the natives.
I feel as if I better understand the concept of simply 'growing apart' from people, or from a place. There is a real outsider feeling to revisiting a place that has undergone a huge formative change- some friends and I went to a show in downtown Los Angeles, where the changes are still happening.  I heard people talking about living there, and walking to the show and how great the area is.
This is a complete change from the 1980s. 
Being able to just walk around downtown, and have time to look at the beautiful buildings- this was just not really possible twenty years ago.
We had a really good meal, followed by ice-cream at a place where the power to make the ice-cream is created from bike power.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

"California's children be they near or the golden poppy of our state so dear..."

Zok was really excited to go to all the redwoods along the Hwy 1.  The drive is beautiful, and we had time to do some walking in both the redwoods on the very north coast and also Muir woods (sans ewoks sadly).

This reminded me that we did go see the Redwoods planted in 1899 in New Zealand

But the few remaining ones from thousands of years ago are hard to match.  We will never in our lifetime see the younger ones get to their full potential. Although I am happy that they do grow elsewhere.  As a 'Californian', I don't think I realized how special these trees are.  But I also realize that by being with my friends who have kids I can see how, it might be a rare thing; appreciating all the world has to offer, especially when it is a parent who is trying to show you. 

Zok and I could have used an extra day coming from the East.  I have missed a few people that I should have tried harder to see- but I am so happy that I did get to see everyone I have seen.  Of course we have one week left and the visiting isn't over yet.

I always make a vow that I will go back and study up a bit on the places we have been too, and I guess I do, at least half of the time.
I have thought about these roads I have been on- the earlier times, and really I think I was always concerned with myself- unable to really appreciate the larger picture.  The situation I was in, a job interview, trying to move, or trying to impress a friend colored the situation.  Or maybe I just worked so much, that I really didn't have the time.  But I know I lived close to nature, but rarely went into it.  Whereas in Australia I have really connected.  I suppose the adage that 'youth is wasted on the young' is true.  I did try to get out to places when I lived in Los Angeles but really I stuck close to home- going to see the Poppy fields in bloom, or to Descanso Gardens.  I did get out a bit more when I moved to the Northwest- but I did also travel a lot for work, so my experiences are definitely similar in the fact that constant motion is involved, and time for reflection is hard.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

viewing life framed by a car window

We have passed the 3,500 mile mark.
Luckily, gratefully we have a couple of days to stretch out, walk, and rest with a good friend on a spectacular beach.
But soon, the unknowable Hwy 1 stretch of the west coast.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

"...she's a killer diller when she's dressed to the the hilt..."

Zok and I have added about 3,000 driving miles to the 7,000 or so air miles in our weeks away from Australia.
We have gone between extremes in both climate, temperatures and elevations.

For me, having a pit stop in California always feels the best place to orientate myself before the next journey because I have some notion that as I was born here, the air, water, and climate suits me.  This is an especially silly notion due to the fact that Northern and Southern California have much different weather.
 Today I am South so the bird noise is constant, only dimmed by the traffic when cars pass and the sun is hot and bright.

I have learned that experiences had in such a quick succession can be hard to hold on too.  That is one of the reasons I have always kept a journal, or notes jotted on scraps of paper- and now this blog.  I am always orientated to the 'now'. I need fragments to help me remember when I am in constant motion.
  Yesterday we were with friends in Bisbee Arizona, surrounded by dessert and inundated by metals.  There is a metallic tinge to everything there in that mining town, the water, the air, the surrounding hills. Water there is transitory brought in by monsoons, or hidden under ground for lean times.  Today we will be at ocean-side.  The ocean of the now, as opposed to the desert - which surely was an ocean bed of another time.

Bisbee also has one of my favorite Art Deco buildings, the Cochise County Courts building, built in the 1930s, and keeping in theme with the industrial, deco fountains that I went to in Los Angeles/Pasadena.
This building is on the west side of historic old Bisbee.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

"...your name is being called by sacred things..."

I knew I wanted to come back to Bisbee Arizona, and not just because some of my favorite people live there.

I am having all the moments I wanted too with all my extra hours in Bisbee this time.  Luckily Zok likes it as much as I do, the second hand shopping is a huge, fruitful treasure hunt.
Tombstone AZ. is also nearby, and well, cowboys are cool.

We hiked up to this Shrine, and it was great.