O.K. everybody, I hope you are sitting down because I am going to attempt a "happy" column. I not really sure what that looks like, but I figure a change of pace would be nice. And besides, we might just learn a few things. I bet you're wondering what could have prompted such an endeavor. Funny you should ask that. Last week a friend came over to see me, and I was struck by the revelation that this man had absolutely no joy in his life. None. Nada. It seems a mirror of pessimism was thrown in my face, and I didn't like what I saw. I then had to ask myself, "do I sound like this?" The thought was frightening. So here goes, an exercise in optimism.
On Saturday morning I was at the beach doing my weekly clean up, when I was recognized by a man who went to High School with me. He asked me if I remembered him, I said, vaguely, a lot has happened since then. Considering we lived in Vista, you can imagine my desire to forget certain aspects of that era. He had changed, for the better I might add. Now with long blond hair, he was looking every inch the denizen of Leucadia. With him was his beautiful daughter Torreyanna. (I hope I spelled that right) When he introduced her, an image of a Torrey Pine graceful and strong came to mind. When things like that happen I know there is still hope. Magic was alive in the eyes of that little girl, it was also present in the love of her fathers. Usually I'm one to rail about overpopulation, not this day, I was very glad this earth child was on the planet. Now I could go on about the mess we are leaving for her, but I won't. Remember this is a "Happy"column.
Speaking of trees, when was the last time you hugged one. The other day I was running around doing all the busy work us humans feel compelled to do, when I caught a glimpse of a young Oak tree. Taking time, I decided a little Oak magic was in order. Boy did that help, it seemed all I needed was a little grounding. California Live Oaks are a native gift, and like Torrey pines, they bring health and happiness just by being there. I highly recommend developing a relationship with one of these, they are very low matainance, are always around when you need them, and make great listeners. If you think picking trash up off the beach is rewarding, just try planting an oak.
Since I have already gone on my tree hugging tangent let me segue into to flower power. Spending my life obsessed with environmental problems, rarely am I blessed with unfettered joy. The one exception , and it never fails, is the sight of California Poppies. Now I'm not the type to run through a field of these incredible flowers. The last thing I need is Poppy deaths on my conscience. Just to look at them is enough. The ideal time for Poppy viewing is a spring day when they are bathed in sunlight, blowing gently in the breeze, and backed by a clean blue sky. I am awed by the thought of what this area must have looked liked a century ago, poppies carpeting the rolling hills. Wow!
Next on my list of favorite things is herons.I love these birds. Not in the biblical since of course. Strictly platonic. Whenever I see one standing vigil in one of the lagoons I just want to run up and talk to him. But we all know how much this would annoy the bird, so I restrain myself. Besides it is against the law to enter the lagoons, unless of course you're the Los Angeles Port Commission. Oops, sorry wrong column. Think happy.
My partner and I have often considered escaping from the Southern California rat race, but where would we go? Nothing compares to San Diego's coastal north county. Leaving all the traffic and overdevelopment would be nice, but hey, I don't have to move to do that. All we lucky residents have to do is get our act together, limit sprawl and our other destructive urges, and we can live a sustainable life here in our little slice of paradise.
Last in my "what makes Bob happy file", is pissing off other drivers. In fact just today I provoked road rage in a guy when I stopped in the middle of the road to allow a young squirrel to decide whether he wanted to cross the street or not. Running over small animals does not make me happy. So here is the score. One angry motorist, one happy Bob, and one happy squirrel, we'll call him Lucky.
O.K. enough happy, next week we will discuss cats, dogs, and other evil creatures.