Wednesday, May 09, 2007

open space

So as I've been reading Landscape of Desire, I realized/wonder if the Michelle in the book is the same woman I knew in Utah years ago, who led similar trips...Hmm, small world.

My grandmother sounds much stronger, which is really, really nice. Feisty!

The day here is mixed: sudden, quick rain, hotly shining sun, blue blue blue skies, rolling puffy white-and-gray clouds, more sun. My morning run up a nearby gulch was beautiful. You round a corner and the sounds of town just vanish, replaced by the sounds of a peaceful yet busy wilderness: birds, trees rustling, small critters foraging in the underbrush. This same lovely area is, I'm told, being pursued by developers who want to consign yet more open space to the rule of the condo, the gated community, the inexorable push of humans who simply cannot abide to stay in the spaces they've already created, who must, it seems, keep rolling on into sanctuaries that really have no need for houses, roads, sewage systems, streetlights, displaced or murdered rabbit and coyote and bird and rodent families.

When I was growing up, my grandparents had thirty acres of land behind their house, a stone's throw from downtown Los Angeles. The land, which was not theirs, was a playground for me, often wandered by me and my mother. Red-tailed hawks lived there. Coyotes. Rabbits. Owls. Snakes. All sorts of bugs and other critters. Lots and lots of trees, flowers, grasses, bushes. A developer wanted to put houses on it, for years. And for years, community residents fought back. I remember pulling surveying stakes out of the ground and throwing them away. (I was monkey-wrenching before I'd ever heard of the term!) Probably about three or four years ago, development finally struck. I don't know how the developer won; most likely waited until the most vocal opponents were moved away or dead. Enormous and not very attractive houses, so close to one another they practically touch, are constantly being built, to the discordant drone of hammers and drills, workers shouting, and the angry whine of saws. My grandparents got cracks in the walls of their home from trucks bearing building materials (concrete? I'm not sure what) driving their overly-heavy loads down the street. You can see into the windows of the houses directly behind my grandparents' house.

Someone saw open space and had to, just had to, sell what I'm sure were insanely overpriced lots. Someone got rich quick, so that the hawks and coyotes and birds and snakes and rabbits and flora and the playgrounds of wild little kids and their nature-loving parents could be destroyed. Who needs open space in Los Angeles anyway, right? It's not like there's much anyway. (And what does exist burns down a lot, like 4,000-acre Griffith Park is right now, because so much open space next to so many human homes is never allowed to burn either naturally or through control means, resulting in wickedly ravenous flames when a spark finally does catch--usually created by a careless human.)


Hmph. I do love people, the human community. We can be endlessly fascinating. Clearly, I'm a fan of the Internet. Of instant communication. Of a connected world that can lead to so much more awareness, recognition, information, knowledge. I wonder if it ever adds up to wisdom. Sometimes, I just have to roll my eyes and wonder. I mean, really: I wonder. Why are some so blind, so greedy, so clueless? What is it? What are they missing? What are we missing? How did we miss the clues?

And so I do what I can, which is write. That's my work, my voice. I write. I don't really know if anyone's listening, yet. In the meantime, I just write.


John Cotterman said...

We're listening. Thanks for the thoughts and words. I encourage your writing. Writers write.

-- Dog

Julie K. Trevelyan said...


Ah, how nice to "see" your voice! Thank you for letting me know my voice is heard as well.