Keep it simple, silly

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Three days, 1300 miles, two wonders of the world and three states behind me, the Mexican border enticingly close, and absolutely no idea where I’m headed next. This is America, the land of the free where, ironically, nothing is monetarily. Yet a spirit can roam here unhindered by the shackles of itinerary and still find itself in some amazing places. This one has found itself in many.

Los Angeles was an incredible place: suburbia taken to a whole new level, sprawl upon sprawl upon sprawl, kept alive by endless arteries of traffic leading every which way, pumping people and goods and so much else wherever it was meant to be: oil down, fumes up and cargo to any nominated compass point.

Sea lions and starfish on the beaches of San Diego and San Francisco provided a ready reminder that judgements can be deceptive: there’s more life in this water than I’m accustomed to in Australia, yet I’d be far less ready to swim here. I guess nobody told the wildlife. Shhhh.

And San Francisco is an incredible city. Redwoods and deep in its suburban hills; artists and poets and writers everywhere; different flavours of space wherever you go, from the series of communities in the city itself to the colourful streets of Oakland, from the secluded slopes of Mill Valley to the trendy streets of Berkeley, this town is truly something special. There is history there, marked in time by the earthquakes and tremors that define the place. There are few finer places to remind us of Nature’s persistence than this town that seems to be under perpetual repair: bridge rebuilding, bridge repainting, road refinishing, ceiling and wall refilling, everywhere Nature continues her work and everywhere people try to keep up.

A month in the Bay Area was interspersed by a week in and around Sonoma County to the north: redwoods, wine, redwoods, community farms, redwoods, spectacular coastlines, redwoods, hot springs and redwoods. Being amongst redwoods is a powerful experience, their beauty exceeded only by their ancient wisdom, soft underfoot.


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