Tag Archives: SoCal

Mountain Mist

When I arrived in California 23 years ago it was the mountains that first struck me. I grew up on flat lands with the occasional rolling hill so the mountains of Southern California were the feature that most pointedly served as a reminder that I wasn’t home anymore. In fairness, the heat was pretty remarkable too. It’s the mountains, though, that can still take me back two decades in an instant. I was 18 and I didn’t know a soul here when I deplaned on sizzling August day. Southern California was different from my hometown in every imaginable way. The student parking lot at my college was filled with BMWs, Mercedes and all manner of sports cars. The food was unrecognizable from the boiled potatoes and meat I was used to. If the girls of Eastern Canada were confusing, the young women of Southern California were complete enigmata…very attractive, very intimidating enigmata. I was pretty much lost here.

From my dorm room I had a view of these mountains. I’d often kick my feet up on the windowsill and contemplate my new life. These minutes spent in self-examination began with¬†melancholy and a strong desire to pack up and go home, but generally ended cheerfully. The mountains filled me with a sense of adventure that spilled over into my days as a new college student–pessimism turned to optimism and shyness to slightly milder shyness.

I never left Southern California. Life is infinitely more complicated now with deadlines, freeways, bills, holiday shopping, school registrations and a host of other pressures. When I feel the melancholy taking hold I still take a moment to look at the mountains and almost instantly feel better. They give me that same feeling of excitement I had more than twenty years ago; now, however, they remind me that I am home.

 

Posted in Places | Also tagged , , , , , , 40 Comments