Yesterday when I finished my business in inland Calabasas, I needed to drive over to Los Angeles International (LAX) Airport. As I left at a time of afternoon when the tune "Ventura Highway" would more properly be rendered as "Ventura Parking Lot", I elected to take Las Virgenes Road. This route cuts through Santa Monica Mountain canyons through to Malibu, after which one can hug the coast on the Pacific Coast Highway down to Santa Monica, cut up on Lincoln through to Venice, roll on through Westchester and essentially "be" at the airport.
I love the canyon areas of southern California. In April, particularly an April following an unduly wet winter, the little "elven forest", the chapparal, is green and beautiful, rolling steep, small mountains filled with little scrub trees and shrubs. Along the roadways, exotic mustard flowers bloom uncontrollably. Sometimes a house on a hill might feature azaleas, another time a native plant, a third time a tropical exotic. The road hugged and curved around the mountain, though, making extended "look at the window" reverie an unthinkably dangerous pasttime.
I've had some interesting times in the canyons. We used to go periodically to the Inn of the Seventh Ray, a restaurant in Topanga run by devotees of a New Age cult, who serve a workable set of theoretically enlightened food. One sits outside, with huge torches lit, and feels the delicate "evening moisture in a dry climate" Pacific layer enfold one as one chats and eats.
Down the road a bit, I spent an afternoon watching a movie produced by a friend being made, a science fiction B movie. The scene I saw involved a space alien, who looked just like a former guest star on Gunsmoke, being "run over" repeatedly by a recreational vehicle. I was struck by just how often one re-films the site of an RV plowing into someone. In more recent times, I chronicled in this journal how I saw a bobcat in broad daylight in a nearby hiking park. Yesterday, though, I merely drove through rolling green hills and valleys, listening to radio news stories about the fellow who got named pope, and wondering if I would make my plane.