Sunday, July 02, 2006

Mindful of L.A.

Nothing like this in Jacksonville Florida. No mountainous background and without them, the landscape struggles for some kind of ambiance.

What I miss about California is the contrast of shapes and lines, the breeze that actually cools, the horizon. Back here in the land I loved, everything has a bedraggled look. The sun is relentless, in the nineties everyday. Even the people look wet and dragged down. The first time I saw one of my squirrels, I was alarmed at how skinny it was, and ashamed of neglecting it, though it lives outside in the big tree and gets my sunflower seeds as a treat. Still, compared to the muscular brute of a squirrel I saw in the parking lot of the LAX Plaza Hotel, mine are orphans, undernourished weaklings.

It's been a week since leaving L.A. Mary Nell & Diane ask me if I've adjusted, with the assumption this will occur, given adequate time, and behind that, another assumption about the permanence of my home here in Florida. I ran into a friend I'd not seen for years at Panera's this morning and when "California" got mentioned, the same wistful awe came over her, and stories of her life there, working as a traveling nurse in Irvine, liv
ing in Marina del Rey. By the end of the conversation, she'd jumped at the chance to return and will likely go to L.A. with me for my second residency.

Something about those distant mountains, the breeze, the people.


Lyle Daggett said...

Ann, more than 20 years ago I went to L.A. and traveled with a friend north along the coast to the upper end of the Puget Sound -- the entire trip in five days. I was 30 at the time, had never seen the ocean before (having lived most of my life near the center of the continent), and suddenly it was outside the window every day.

The breathless sloping cliffs at Big Sur, the gargantuan offshore rocks along the northern California coast, the redwood forest, wild maniac winds in Oregon (it was October), and then in Washington going through the Olympic Mountains as evening came on.

I started working on a long connected series of poems about the trip, which (after more than 20 years) is something like two-thirds done. My lifelong obsession, it appears. The place does get into you like that...

Ann said...

Lyle -

"lifelong obsession" - that sounds too intense not to have that book of poems published. But I'm just impatient - I'd love to read it when you've decided it's finished.