California is sweet; something remembered as soon as I breathed its air. The air was misty blue once I landed; the view from the plain was less appealing: pockets of natural paradise drenched in a city plopped into the dust. The west can’t conceal the manmade scars as well; their trees don’t billow and forgive like New England’s, and the smaller growth isn’t as lush and embracing, covering our mistakes. So poor buildings and rich ones tend to grab the attention.
California is sweet and for a day or a week or a month it is intoxicating and paradise, but I’m already glad it will end after a week; sweet things in too much quantity grow sickening and uncomfortable, too precious not to experience in life but too rarefied and purposeful to be life itself.
But what I didn’t know was the sweetness was temporary. As I sat to dinner that night and happily watched the Yankees lose the World Series to Josh Beckett’s stifling arm, a signal fire was set in the countryside’s hills by a lone hunter who was dehydrated, disorientated, and very grateful that he had been rescued before dying alone in the wilderness brush.
It had not rained in San Diego in over 100 days.