In response to a post by fellow Blogging.la’er Lucinda Michele, which upon her return after a few weeks away in Death Valley and Seattle left her questioning whether she might be falling out of love with our unfair city, I added the following comment that picks up on what she beautifully had to say about the significance of jacarandas and then I go on to somewhat sum up my relationship with my native place. Certainly people far more learned, wise and better expressive than me have captured the essence of this place, but in re-reading it and porting it over here, I like to think that if I didn’t put my finger square on something, at least maybe I brushed it with a hopefully unpretentious hangnail. Of course, on second look have the urge to edit, but I’ll leave it as it ran on blogging.la:
Jacarandas, like so much we hold beautifully iconic here in the city, are imported. Set dressing for an epic motion picture in which we are transients in a transplanted scape, irrigated by elsewhereâ€™s water, developed by the makers of make believe and designed for us to travel it removed and isolated in climate-controlled cabins within rolling steel boxes. On top of that every now and then its true faults are revealed, falling the walls and spinning the power lines like jump ropes as it tries to shrug us off. It is no wonder our ties to this place can be so tenuous and become so disconnected.
For me, the on-offs of oneâ€™s relationship with Los Angeles is part of its overall charm. There are peaks and valleys in everything none more figurative than L.A. and none more literal than Death Valley where five miles as the vulture flies one can go from Badwaterâ€™s lowest point in the western hemisphere at 282 feet below sea level, to the 11,049-foot Telescope Peak. Whether standing between love and hate of this sprawled city or in between those two desert landmarks I can marvel at both extremes.