Leaving the L.A. Basin, I drove across a maze of people and pavement that boggled my mind. After four days in a California idyll with my son in Venice Beach a block from the ocean, I was encountering the famed L.A. freeway system – the flip-side of the postcard. With no slow lane for my van, I gripped the steering wheel and did my best as an early spring heat wave beat down overhead.
I have to admit to some misgivings about what we human beings have created in our automated urban centers. My son says that thanks to stiff environmental policy in the Golden State, the ocean he surfs in is cleaner, and air quality in the city has improved over the past decade. An exciting movement is afoot to restore the Los Angeles River. (Yes, a river once flowed in that basin!). Heading east toward the Mohave Desert, I encountered a solar and wind farm, more proof that we are trying to change how we live. When we put our minds to it, we can.
Yet, I sometimes have a sense that we human beings have gotten just too disconnected from the Earth that is our home, that we have left too few wild places where we can hear and feel something that is not of our own creation. At the end of a long, hot day, Dellie and I pulled into Joshua Tree National Park. We had climbed 3500 feet out of the basin to get here. The sun was about to set across the high desert landscape. I poured myself a glass of wine just as a coyote whooped joyfully on a bluff.
We had found our way out of the maze.