12 Month Challenge
Country Mouse, City Mouse
I think of the county mouse as living in a rural area so maybe there should be another category – Wilderness Mouse. I’m somewhere between Wilderness Mouse and City Mouse. Most of the time I’m living in the city but Los Angeles isn’t totally city. A lot of the LA area is really wilderness and some of it even near downtown can be inaccessible. This is why we have the Santa Monica National Recreation are spread through LA. http://www.nps.gov/samo/index.htm & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franklin_Canyon_Park
The geographical center of LA is in a wilderness park halfway between the San Fernando Valley and Beverly Hills called Franklin Canyon. There are wild places all over and my sister and I visit them all the time and I drag friends around them too. I spent every summer from 1975 to 1984 out in the mountains around Los Angeles working at camps.
At camp we lived and slept outside. Cooked a lot of our meals outside. Sometimes bathed outside. Rode horseback, canoed and swam in the lake or at an unheated pool. I led hikes and backpack trips. I taught Arts and Crafts outside. Shared our space with raccoons, deer and coyotes, foxes, squirrels, birds and occasionally bears.
We don’t really have hills in LA, we have mountains. The mountain right behind our house growing up called Mt Verdugo is 3126 ft and the mountaňin on the way up to camp, MT Wilson is 5710 and camp is higher still and at Teresita Pines we climbed Mt Baden-Powell and it’s 9399 ft tall. By comparison the tallest mountain in Scotland is Ben Nevis and it’s only 4409 ft tall. There are still places that are such rough terrain that no one has ever been on foot there. Search and Rescue in our mountains is no joke. The rangers used to tell us they have to comb the mountains every Monday for people who get lost or their car goes off the road. When I worked at the hospital which just happens to be the local trauma center I found out how true that was because every Monday morning we’d hear the whump, whump, whump of the copters landing on the roof. Even the terrain in some of our botanical gardens can be pretty rough like the CA native section of Descanso Gardens.
That’s one of the wonderful things about LA. You can start at the beach and be in the wilderness in some places like Malibu in about 15 minutes even from Santa Monica to La Caňada is only about an hour on a good day. On the other hand I like the convenience of being able to shop at Trader Joes and Whole Foods which are generally in the city. I like being able to take the Orange Line to work and not drive. I like knowing that hospitals and doctors are close by if I need them. I like knowing if I want an item to create something JoAnn’s fabrics and Michaels are not far away.
I like knowing both my coven and my temple sisters are close by. I like belonging to a huge pagan community with lots of options. I like that we have beach rituals and then go for walks in the woods. I like that even though I live in an apartment I have a yard. I like being 15 minutes from 2 wildlife sanctuaries and about 30 minutes to an hour from about 10 others. I like being able to go places like the Getty Villa http://www.getty.edu/visit/ or Huntington Library and Gardens if I decide today I want to see the Audubon folio or the Magna Carta or a statue of Aphrodite.
I like that LA is a city of trees and on my street there are redwoods, oaks, sycamores and orange trees among others.
So I guess I’m a City Mouse and a Wilderness Mouse