Feeling Truly Connected

Dear Will:

Today my kids and I took a hike up into the hills that give Cannon Street its character. If you’ve never been up there, it makes for a nice little hike. The terrain is only occasionally precarious, and you’re pretty much guaranteed to have the entire place to yourself. If you’re looking for benches to rest on and signs explaining the flora and fauna, forget it. But if you just want a chance to get away from the city in the midst of the city, you could do a lot worse.

What I especially like about this particular location (aside from the fact that I can walk there from my house) is that it allows you to perch above the city (above the county on a clear day) and get an almost bird’s-eye view of the place. From a single spot we could see the entire reservoir (isn’t it great to see it full of water again?), the new Grijalva Park over off of Prospect, the rows of homes along Rockinghorse Ridge, and just about any other landmark we had wished to see. We picked out the Christensens’ house over on Snowbird, the place on Country Hollow where the Novaks will be moving in next week, the schools, the playgrounds, the grocery stores. With just a little less haze we’d have had a clear view of Edison Field and, with a little imagination, the Matterhorn over at Mickey’s place.

(A few years ago, I took Bryn—then 5 or 6—up the same hill to watch the fireworks on July 4. Ostensibly we were there to see the annual event at Fred Kelly Stadium, but what we got was truly unexpected: From that spot on the hill, we watched five different shows simultaneously, including the big blow-out at Disneyland, the one at Edison Field, and a couple of smaller shows around the Southland. Very cool.)

Besides the view, today we enjoyed some favorite sights and smells: sage, rosemary, anise, all sprinkled amidst the cactus and mustard flowers there on the hilltop. We saw volcanic rock, the footprints of coyotes, and one truly remarkable phenomenon: almost no evidence of litter or graffiti. Seth, my four-year-old who often goes hiking with his mother Dana at Santiago Oaks a couple of miles east of where we stood, kept remarking: “This is the best hike ever!”

What made it special for Seth, I believe, is that he was out and about with his big brother and sister doing what he usually only gets to do when they are in school. Today, for a change, they were hanging out with him, and as an added bonus (I like to think) Dad was there too. It would have been the whole family had Dana not been feeling ill. At any rate, Seth spoke for all of us when he gushed enthusiastically about our little adventure. We were feeling truly connected—to family, to nature, to our community—and enjoying immensely the chance to see it all—both literally and figuratively—more clearly. The perspective was both enlightening and energizing.

So do yourself a favor. One of these days soon, climb up to the top of that hill and have a look around. I think you’ll be glad you did.


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