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April 14th, 2010

many travels

In the night air outside a restaurant in Beverly Hills, young teens lurked on the sidewalk, because they had heard that Justin Timberlake dined inside. Near the Griffith Park Observatory, I stared out at the mountains while English and Japanese tourists took digital snapshots. A small hawk flew by, at eye level, carrying a creature in its talons, either a rodent or small bird. A large crow soon followed it, seeking to dislodge it, but not succeeding. A house finch stood in a deco indentation on the outer wall of the observatory, looking out on all he surveyed.

At the Bodhi Tree Bookstore on Melrose Avenue, used book section, a thirty-ish woman with a gorgeous mehdi-looking (yet permanent) tattoo received a compliment from a man decades her senior. She explained that she had gotten the tattoo in Oregon, fifteen years previously. He mentioned something about ponzi-scheme-felon Bernard Madoff. It soon transpired that the woman to whom he was speaking had no idea who he was talking about. The man persisted, discussing various hopes that Mr Madoff suffered abusive prison conditions. I decided I preferred her world, without Bernard Madoff, to his world, in which Bernard Madoff dwelt in a circle of penal hell. I bought an issue of Tricycle magazine, a book called "Prairie Soul", and a book about birding.

In Riverside, I admired the historic courtroom. The bailiff asked that I note the inlaid metal on the chairs.
It had a neat graphic pattern. He said that when the courtroom had been restored in 2000, research disclosed that a firm in France had made those chairs, decades before. The company which made the chair was still in business, and still had the mold, all those eons later. New chairs were made.

I drove by a doughnut shop in Riverside just after my court hearing, but hesitated before pulling in. Next door to the doughnut shop stood a somewhat seedy-looking liquor store. In the parking lot, an older woman lingered in the parking lot, apparently begging for beer money. My first impression was to drive on, but I turned around. I decided not to live my life avoiding non-threatening situations on the sole ground that they might be distasteful. I was not accosted for change, and it turned out that the donut shop was like a little neighborhood--the woman behind the counter was very friendly, and the raisin roll divine.

The woman beside me on the plane was only a bit younger than I am, but she explained to the other fellow who was sitting beside her about her upcoming adoption. She had pictures of a little girl in China that she and her husband will go pick up in August. She explained that it takes longer to get fully healthy adopted kids, so that they were adopting a child who had recently had a heart condition addressed. The pictures were gorgeous. The little girl held a white panda. The woman on the plane hired a man in her town to take the bear to the little girl. She even made up a picture book of her own life to send the little girl, using one of those cool internet photo sites. She had the words translated into the little girl's language, so that perhaps they could read to her about her upcoming life.

The woman went on to explain how she and her husband adopted another child, from Guatemala. That child died of an illness which had not been detected prior to the adoption. She said that though they lost their little girl in less than a year, they still felt that the little girl was "meant to be" their daughter. I like people who live in the mystery, and continue to hope.