Finding Nature in the City of Angels

20080302w_avocados01.jpgIn the past, whenever I visited L.A., I’d have a hard time adjusting to the frantic pace, smoggy air and traffic. As much as I like seeing my family, I hated how stressful the city made me. But my visit was different this time. Our sabbatical has changed my attitude toward visiting places that I find undesirable, which makes life a lot more enjoyable. As Jim likes to say, “it is what it is,” and I accept that can’t change that. So this time while visiting the region, I decided to try to see more of the positive things about L.A, and find beautiful things about it, like nature.

My parents have an old avocado tree in their yard, which bears fruit in the winter. This season was exceptional, and there was quite a few of those babies left way up high in the tree when we arrived. So Jim and I decided to go after them, and climbed up on the roof to start picking. As we piled up our loot, I was really impressed at this tree’s ability to thrive for so many years, in a small suburban backyard, covered in concrete.

steenagymkanaa.jpgLater in the week, I went to my nieces’ gymkhana horse riding competition, in an arena tucked into the foothills above my parents house. The riding arena had a rustic, woodsy feel, and there were lots of 4-H and FFA types all around –people dressed in casual western attire, looking as if they had just walked off a dusty ranch. As the stench of horse poo got stronger throughout the day, and the mud grew thicker on my boots, I was transported back to rural America. I found it remarkable that this scene could thrive in suburban L.A.

20080302w_dadincoop02.jpgThere are other instances when I found myself discovering little glimpses of nature within the chaos; from the chickens and rabbits that my Dad and niece keep in a corner of the yard, to the hummingbirds that hovered around the feeders, and even the lemonade I made from my neighbor’s lemon tree. By remembering to observe and be thankful for these little gifts of nature, I was a lot less stressed out, and had a far better time than usual.

7 thoughts on “Finding Nature in the City of Angels”

  1. those are`nt just “avocados” my dear!, they are called “fuertes” and are the cultivar that fathered the “haas” which founded the avocado industry in california which btw was first grown in whittier ca.

  2. Looks like you have proven Wayne Dyers saying;
    “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”

    Good for you! Have fun enjoying your family.

  3. I LOVE avocados, as you can probably tell by looking at me. I just have to have them in my omelettes, burgers, burritos and yogurt. Yes, avocado yogurt. It’s green and yummy. Avocado milkshakes are good too.

  4. Things I need to remember myself. I never dreamed I’d be living in such a large city and am always wanting to return to a smaller, more rural area. Your post reminds me that I need to find the beauty no matter where I am.


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