highway 101

I can see why people live here and why it’s our nation’s capital for film and TV. This landscape is breathtaking- wide, infinite expanse of the Pacific Ocean, green rolling hills reminiscent of the Swiss Alps or the New Zealand hills in the summer. Being here renews my life goal of taking a road trip around the U.S. Our country has such a diverse landscape- tropical, palm-tree filled beaches, snowcapped, rugged mountain ranges, open prairies, great lakes, two expanses of ocean, endless (but sadly, decreasing) old growth forests, etc. Seeing these different sites on my travels around the U.S. is eye-opening- sometimes it’s hard to imagine that these are all present in the same country- that our collective political entirety can hold all of these different places!

Looking out into the ocean is an incredible feeling. Seeing that vast expanse of rippling, shining water induces feelings of awe and insignificance at the same time. I would love to live down here just for the beautiful landscape and the fantastic weather. They really cannot be beat. I didn’t realize how green Southern California is away from the sprawling of the cities and settlements, we have been able to find deep, lush, velvety valleys that are bursting with emeralds. The hills are dotted with yellow wildflowers and purple fields that blow happily in the wind. The sun shines brightly, only accentuating the luminous colors and the fields are almost reminiscent of the African savannah from Planet Earth.

When we were driving through the Tejon Pass South on I-5 into the LA county, I was dumbfounded. How could a place that is known for its consumerism, materialism, glitz, and glamor, display such diverse natural beauty? How is this humble side of L.A. dismissed in favor of swimsuit-clad celebrities on the white beaches and the fancy houses set down amidst the manicured lawns? When we drove through the pass, lush green hills stood on either side of the road. It was as if we had chosen to drive through someone’s giant secret fort and any minute we’d be snatched up. But that wasn’t quite the case. The grasses on the hills shone in the sun, glistening like our favorite stars’ Tiffany jewelry. The wind ran between the blowing grasses, making them dance. The hills really seemed alive.

So despite all of this breathtaking beauty, I really don’t think I could see myself living in this area- unless it was on an organic farm, at a state park, or some place isolated beyond all of the settled areas. It would be interesting to study the human ecology/history of humans and the environment in this area. Based on the attitudes of people here, it doesn’t seem too harmonious. Yes, it is beautiful, but it seems as though the people’s appreciation of the land is fairly superficial. Their architecture and imposition of humanity on the land suggests this fact- and the land has taken on a superficiality as well. The pristine beaches, rolling hills of Hollywood, and other areas have fit into the mold of TV perfection. But now that I see the reality of the landscape here, that really is incredible beyond the glitz and glamor of Hollywood, I’m more inclined to like Southern California beyond my stereotypes. I have been able to experience the soft wind, the constant sunlight, the birds singing and grasshoppers chirping…just beyond the confines of mainstream society.

California poppies


One thought on “highway 101

  1. Pingback: Travel Notes: Days 4-6 | in the midst

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