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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Ode to California

©alifornicationally drawn by B.C. Matthews

Ah, California. I know what other people think of you. They see you as a big chested, red-hot painted lady hoisting 'yer skirts for everyone on the beach. But California, I know you. I've seen you. And I'm here to let you know that even when I leave you, you're still on my mind. Let's be real, my California. You are the ruler to which I put everywhere I go, from other states—to other countries. I'm here to let you know, that yes, I'm yours. I can't help it.

You've got everything. Really. You do. Let me count the ways in which you've got it all.

1. Every kind of climate, every kind of scenery: From your freezing ass northern oceanic waters, to your slightly less freezing ass cold southern waters, the Pacific Ocean is there to caress you, as omnipresent as ever. You've got hot deserts in Death Valley, strange hot wildlands in Joshua Tree, the booming Sierra Mountains full of white-capped volcanos, the immense granite slab of El Capitan, the tallest trees in the world in your coastal Redwoods shrouded in a blanket of fog, your rolling green hills, and rolling brown hills (yeah, I know you catch on fire every year, but I won't judge too harshly).

I've gone swimming in your lakes, gone fishing on your rivers, hiked your mountains, gotten horrifically lost on your trails, and dug my toes in your sandy beaches. I've breathed in every smell of you from the heady scent of clam chowder in bread bowls at Monterey, the smell of steaming sewer grates, human waste, and sweaty desperation in San Francisco, the clean, crisp air that smells like the sigh of Redwoods in Humboldt County, the miasma of cow manure baking in the Central Valley sun, and the volcanic smell of sulfur atop your boiling pools in Mt. Lassen.  

2. Your heart is full of food: I love food. Therefore, I love the hell out of you, California. I used to be embarrassed that you were so into agriculture, and that I came from a small farming town. But what other state grows so much food? Every spring and summer your fields are filled to bursting with crops, your endless orchards filled with fruit and nuts. Anywhere else I've gone I've always been disappointed that the strawberry fields don't go on forever, and that the tomatoes aren't the brightest, deepest red. Your grapevines are heavy with the promise of wine or raisins. The milk in my fridge came from the cows in the pasture I pass every day. And we can't forget your cheese.

3. You've got two world class cities: What other state can boast that? New York has New York City, you have Los Angeles and San Francisco. LA is the California the TV shows, and yes, that is true. LA, you're the new, exciting, shallow, desperate-to-make-it-big, flaky bastard with which we learn to have a love-hate relationship. San Francisco, aka The City, you're the wild flower child, the omni-pansexual beatnik cool cat that we all learn love in spite of (or because of) your oddities. Both LA and SF both try to sell tourists their version of you, dear California, but I know you have much more in store for people. And even you, Cal-i-forn-eye-eh, are more than the sum of your parts.

4. Tacos. They're that good. Out of trucks. Seriously. I wouldn't lie to you.

5. So much to do, so much to see: I'm a native of you, California, and yet I still haven't seen everything. There are so many things, that even I haven't seen them all. And I wouldn't want to.

So, my chickadees, where do you call home? To what place would you write an ode?

2 Comments:

At August 20, 2012 at 7:38 AM , Anonymous Peter Morrow said...

While I am currently enjoying the natural beauty of California, I do so miss my home of Oregon. Those lovely and wet rain forests...

 
At August 20, 2012 at 7:38 AM , Anonymous Peter Morrow said...

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