I could go into the many reasons why I stopped posting, but I won't. I said at the beginning this wouldn't be a "dear diary" thrown out to cyberspace. I had my reasons. I still have my reasons.
But... but... but... suffice to say I've gone through some changes and they're still evolving.
I'll never stop writing, though. I gave the following piece away, why shouldn't it be on my very own blog? So here it is:
Many years ago in the 1960s when my family left Los Angeles, it was with a gigantic mental sigh of relief. The smog, the sprawl, and the fast pace weren't missed in the slightest. In fact, we pitied those we knew who were caught within its environ. My father was a native who had always yearned to escape, and my sisters and I whole-heartedly embraced his negative view of everything regarding L.A. We joined in his jubilation that we were fortunate to make a getaway, and from that point on we've been united in our quest to live in a better place and in our denunciation of Los Angeles.
Although my father managed his somewhat getaway, he was still trapped Monday through Friday. He had little choice; he was a film editor and the work was either in L.A. or New York. He stuck with the devil he knew and made the commute down the Pacific Coast Highway long before it became fashionable.
My mother, who relocated to Southern California out of choice, missed the city more than the rest of us put together. She was, however, appeased by the fact that we were at the beach.
We moved just fifty miles away, but what a world of difference. We lived on a strip of sand where the Santa Monica Mountains met the sea whose address was North Malibu. It was far from and nothing like the trendy Colony. We had crossed the line from Los Angeles into Ventura County.
After being used to endless homes and businesses on vast city streets, my sisters and I at first could scarcely fathom our new found luck. When we weren't in school we had unlimited freedom in exploring the locale. There were the miles of beach, the coastal craggy rocks, the private pier, and the canyon across the highway that could be hiked for miles. It was before the state acquired it as part of the state park system and was still the farthest reaches of a cattle ranch that stretched throughout the northernmost part of the Santa Monica Mountains. The sycamore trees, the creek that ran to the ocean, the vaquero cabin and the yucca studded hillsides all became our turf and a part of us.
We were bussed alongside the ocean to attend school amidst the agricultural fields in Oxnard. Ventura County was verdant, beautiful. The air was clean and the population low. We listened in disbelief when my father compared it to the San Fernando Valley he grew up in.
"I can remember when the walnut groves went on forever, and the L.A. River was wild," he'd reminisce. Out of respect we wouldn't challenge his memories. We simply couldn't comprehend that the asphalt sprawl to which we were accustomed had been an agricultural bastion a scant generation before. And it never occurred to us at the time that we might very well witness the same type of change.
After a couple of years the state acquired the canyon. At first it made little difference; it was an opportunity for further exploration. However, it did not take long for the beach side of the highway to fall prey to eminent domain. We enjoyed being there while it lasted, and moving there provided the impetus to flee L.A. Not one of us expected or wanted to ever go back. Our lives settled in Ventura County.
However, I became more of my father's daughter than I cared to admit as I unconsciously emulated some of his negative attitude toward growth and change. Ventura County was becoming too crowded and I yearned for spaces that were cleaner and less populated.
This has led to wanderlust that has taken me to the Pacific Northwest (both Washington and Oregon) as well as Northern California. I leave, but I always come back.
I've recently returned after a stint in Sonoma County Wine Country. And while it is quite beautiful there, too - an agriculture centered county fifty miles north of a major city - it's too cold and too far from the ocean for me.
So once again I've returned, and it's been my good fortune that the weather this past fall was the sort that's reinforced my belief that this is my place.