One of the few, one of the proud, I’m a native Los Angeleno. I was born and raised here, so I root for the Dodgers, I cheer for the Lakers, and I curse the traffic but don’t care enough to move.
So it comes with great shame to admit that I take rare advantage of one of the greatest beauties this city has to offer.
What is it, you ask? Griffith Park, of course.
Looming as the backdrop to my daily life, this all natural bombshell covers over 4210 acres of land and is home to the Greek Theater, the Griffith Observatory, The Los Angeles Zoo, and some of LA’s best hiking trails. A back yard to LA, if you will, with wild animals, carnival rides and lunar telescopes, to boot. (She’s a sure thing … what’s not to love?)
Though she boasts these sprawling, expansive hills (the second largest of her kind in California) only from a distance have I admired her. On commutes to work, strolls through my neighborhood, walks with my dogs.
In the past week this changed when Miss Griffith (if you’re nasty) lured me in with siren calls, tempting me to discover her delicious fruit and sweet nectar.
Don’t ask me how this love affair began so suddenly, but I can’t help from falling deeply in love. I’m most peaceful when inside her. Seduced by the sound of trail road crunching beneath my feet. Aroused by the rhythmic pace of my gait exploring her terrain. Enticed by the multitude of decisions her hills present.
Every time, every trail, she leads me to the right road.
Yesterday she revealed the damage from the 2007 wild fire, a disaster which left her beat, battered and burned. Unexpectedly I saw her up close and personal. Much closer and exposed than I would have liked.
The fire took more than 817 acres, leaving trees, bushes and hillsides blackened like tar. To face what remains was difficult. Full grown trees charred to the bones. Expressive as characters of a Tim Burton movie, these trees may never spring to life. Like fingers of skeleton, limbs of a corpse.
Still, there’s hope in the growth that lies beneath her trees. New greens on the ground and bushes and brush bursting with color.
Once there I loomed over the city, just like she does every day, united with the natural beauty around me, yet connected to the urban sprawl below.
A perfect harmony.
So here’s to the next time someone tells you to “Take a Hike!” I dare you to take up the offer because while hiking away from reality, finding a free world awaiting your arrival, you may just fall in love with something you never thought you would.