Ah, the quick write assignment. I would say it fits into my schedule, but it is Friday and the assignment was posted on Tuesday, school work trumps again. The assignment is to write about favorite place, so here goes:
I am lucky because one of my favorite places just happens to be minutes from my house and the place I go to most days. It is Topanga Canyon, the little mountain community where I have spent the last 18 years, but really had traveled to for years before that.
I began going through Topanga on my way to the beach so summer memories are some of my favorite. Then, in my late teens and early adult years, I frequented The Corral to hear music and enjoy the hippie days made famous in the Canyon. I had friends up in the Canyon and since I’ve been part of the community via the school, have made some of my closest friends in those who make the Canyon their home.
It is hard to imagine that a 7 mile drive from home can transport me to a place filled with the promise of calm, tranquility and scent of sage and lavender. Topanga is that place. It is quiet unless you consider the bird’s chirps disruptive. There are often times when my students and I take a listening walk, picking out sounds like the wind rustling through the sycamore trees, a jet flying high overhead, children’s shouts on the playground and dogs barking. Being able to really hear these sounds and the infusion of quiet is the gift of the mountains.
The colors change with the seasons though there are more shades of green that one can imagine. Flowers poke out with poppy orange, sage silver and soothing lavender bringing bursts of color infusing the green. The shadows move about during the day highlighting different corners of the canyon and the sun’s rays catch the water sparkling in the creek, of dripping down a granite boulder.
Today I noticed the smell of pine wafting up the stairs as we returned from a trip to the library. I had a surge of memories from Yosemite, the Sierras and Yellowstone, that smell reminded me of so many camping trips, waking in the morning to the pines and sitting around a campfire at night surrounded by a circle of trees. There are other smells traveling through the Canyon, but besides the trees, my favorite is the hint of the ocean that travels up the “S” curves towards the center of the town. Knowing that the ocean lies a meer 10 minutes west is a comforting thought. Where else can you go that offers the best of these worlds?
The feeling of peace comes with the breeze, the mist in the morning, the sage scented hills and the quiet. It is said that there exists a spirituality in the mountains, the Tongva tribe of Native Americans lived in the Canyon for years before being relocated by the Spanish to the San Fernando Mission. The artifacts and burial grounds provide a spiritual undertone that I feel there. Meditation comes easily there and many of my good writing ideas pop into my head on my short morning commute.
Topanga is the place I feel is as close to home as I can imagine.