Monday, February 8, 2010

Just Over The Horizon

I grew up in the late ‘50’s and ‘60’s in Southern California. Our house, on a hillside overlooking the San Fernando Valley, was surrounded by lemon groves until 1958 when developers ripped out the trees and built cookie cutter houses all around us. Almost overnight we had sidewalks and neighbors and one lone tree left standing in our front yard.

On a very clear day we could see the thin band of blue of the Pacific Ocean on the horizon. In the 1950’s pollution alerts were still in the future. The air was clear and warm and kids played outside unsupervised all day long and sometimes late into the evening.

We rarely travelled far from the neighborhood. Family outings were uncommon. Mom, Dad and little brother in the front seat, my brother Leigh and I in the back seat. In those days before seatbelts, my brother and I were welded to the plastic in the back seat by the heat. The only air conditioning was the air blowing in the rolled down windows. With the radio tuned to KHJ we headed through the winding canyon road to the beach. There was a long tunnel cut into the hillside and we begged our father to honk the horn as we drove into the darkness. We emerged again into the bright sunshine and around every turn we quickly scanned the horizon for the first sighting of the ocean. As we came to a rise in the roadway we anticipated the ocean on the other side. My brother and I bickered about who spied the ocean first until my mother would finally turn around and demand that we stop…and we would, for awhile.

I still think of those drives to the beach with my family. Although I live hundreds of miles from the ocean, when I find myself approaching the crest of a hill there’s a little flutter of anticipation and I almost expect to see the ocean on the other side reaching to the horizon. It’s a memory of the pleasure of anticipation. Sometimes it’s the journey not the destination that makes the trip.

I'm enjoying the journey.  Life is good.

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