It's raining in Pasadena today. Not our typical Southern California deluge. Just a chance to wet down the sidewalks, germinate some seeds, mess up the dust on my car.
And, unlike what I've been doing almost every day for the past two weeks, I won't be taking advantage of the spectacular weather to go on a stroll up the local mountains. It's really easy for me to take short hike, because one trail head is across the street from my home and other trail heads are less than a mile away. So, I've gone up to Echo, down into Rubio, explored hills post-2007 fire, and other fun little adventures.
Oooh, and the views are amazing. One Sunday, I could actually see lines and shadows on Catalina Island from my street. Now mind you, Catalina Island is 40 miles away. And a couple days ago, from atop the Cobb estate on Lake Street, it dawned on me that I was looking at Santa Barbara Island (a little spit of land about the size of Eagle Rock) or perhaps San Nicholas island, way past Santa Monica. I often forget they're even out there, much less see them on these strolls.
Now that's a view.
So why the bummed out mood? Well, the rain dampens the spirits and the hiking some. But also, reality hit after Tuesday's inauguration. There really are a basketful of challenges to be faced. Business is tough, and I'm trying to figure out how to avoid lay-offs. We have two wars, with friends serving overseas in frightful places. And the nation and the states have Kafka-esque budget nightmares tainting everything.
I'd love to bask and revel, as we did the other day. Watching Obama take his place as the most powerful person on the planet did move me. He is the living embodiment of not just African Americans empowerment but of the extent of today's diversity. His family has chinese, canadian, hawaiian, indonesian, african, irish and other interesting mixtures. He's got a rabbi, Muslims, and Christians in his family. Obama's brother in law is a Pac-10 (Oregon State) basketball coach - how "in the times" is that? He went to Oxy, depends on the internet and cell phones, and plays basketball daily. Dang, he really can be a cousin in my family. It's a reason to rejoice.
But it's tough to make a living while hanging out on these mountain tops. It takes hard work to climb up there and you still have mouths to feed. So, despite the glorious views, the gentle breezes and the bountiful joy, there are times when we have to come down and get to work.
So rain on, Southern California. Instead of being bummed, I just need to remember that with the rain and the gloom comes an opportunity for growth, rebirth, nourishment. We can germinate a tiny seedling that may one day be an astonishing tree from which we can seek shelter and shade. And not just for me, but for all who come after me. Bless us all with the water from the skies.
And I will let the optimist in me reign on.
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