When I was a kid, my family would drive from Seaside to Salinas to visit relations or have dinner at “Perry’s Smorgies” as we called it.
It was long before all of the building occurred on the Monterey-Salinas Highway, and no one ever wore seat-belts back then. I would splay myself into the back of the old station wagon and watch the world move around me as the background in the “movie” I was writing in my head.
These “movies” were not restricted by genre or time period. One day I was a super-spy, another I was liberating the oppressed on a distant shore. Sometimes the moon colony was in need of my special resources.
The one common element was the Landscape’s awareness of me. That is, those soft, brown, rolling hills moved and changed with my story… and the 55 miles an hour that my father drove.
Oh, how they still look like slumbering dinosaurs to me, ready at any moment to rise up slowly, to stretch out, then move on to the next beautiful meadow. Now I imagine the new roads that criss-cross are scars that the dinos encountered while doing battle with Godzilla who occassionally rises from the Pacific Ocean to crush our quiet town. Sore and wounded, our Dino-heroes lay down for a long rest and dream that our villagers will be grateful.
I am grateful. And I say it every time I drive through my wonderous California Landscape.