Tuesday, June 15, 2010

She rides the lion—at least it's not a car

As I was trudging up the hill to my house today, I had the illogical expectation that someone would pass by and give me a ride, the same expectation I used to have as a kid of five, hoping someone in a big limousine would drive by and adopt me. It's similar to the childlike and illogical expectation I have now hoping that someone—Obama? Tony what's his name? Steven Chu?— will make the oil spill go away and the environment, the sea turtles, the birds, the marshes, be okay again.

Meanwhile, I still keep driving. But today, I walked. I headed down to Highland Park—the northeast community below Mt. Washington—because my husband's going out of town for a week with the camera and I needed to load up on pictures. I hadn't expected to walk so far—my goal was the art gallery down by the railroad tracks.

But after I got there I kept on walking and ran into a guy at the burger stand on Figueroa. His name was David, the same as my brother.

 David from the San Fernando Valley in Highland Park, looking for trouble?

David my brother in India, looking for Nirvana?
 (photo credit: unknown)

This David, from the Valley, was on a job; when I told him I'd put his picture on my blog, he asked, "What's that?"  He'd never heard of "blogs" or done email, and didn't know how to get around a computer. When I told him he could get a Pell grant to study computers, like at the school where I teach for instance, he scoffed; he'd learn the computer on his own, little by little, he said. It dawned on me that Highland Park, although only a few blocks from home, is another hood altogether—one where I'd be prudent to keep my illogical expectations to myself.

By the time I'd finished walking I was almost two miles out—the way back, mostly up hill. Now where's that ride? 

Some shots of Highland Park, day and night:

Ruby at Society of the Spectacle on York Ave.

The Shop at Ave. 50th and Fig

Hand display at Time Nails

Torres Barber Shop

El Takitaco parked near Food-4-Less on Fig.

(More photos are on my fb page under "Highland Park" Album)


Lately, I've been admiring those stalwart National Geographic Society photographers; you know the ones, the men and women who sit in wait for hours, days, weeks, for certain animals to show up. That's how it's been in our back yard for the past week, waiting for the baby coyotes to appear. I was beginning to think I'd hallucinated seeing two of them, and then I saw one crossing below our house at sunset: he hurried along the path, and then out of nowhere, another baby coyote came to greet him, just like that! They leapt at each other with their over-sized baby mitten paws and quickly disappeared together under the brush. Needless to say, I didn't get a picture.

Soon after, I heard a rustling in the bushes from the same direction where the first coyote had emerged...

A big fat skunk came waddling by, right under my nose, timing its sojourn just right. Fatso was on its way to Thea's, my next door neighbor, to chow down on the cat food she leaves out for the neighborhood strays (which—is it just my imagination?—have been diminishing in number). I hope the baby coyotes don't get wind of that food. Like all wild things, they'll need to stay clear of humans if they're going to survive.


  1. I love your photos!
    and the honesty with which you describe that feeling of wanting "somebody" to make it all better again.

  2. Very cool photos & essay. Our cities are amazing places - how extraordinary to be able to move from El Takitaco & the barber shop to seeing fat skunks and joyful baby coyotes.