Fifty years ago native plants covered this hillside. When spring followed a wet winter, it would turn orange with golden poppy blooms. I know, having seen it from the rear seat of Uncle Larry’s 57 Chevy on a sunday drive. Here on the coast clear air held nothing to diminish the view or color sunsets.
On this trip smog thickened the sky until the onset of an off shore breeze. Housing developments now cover all by the steepest ground. For those that can afford hillside luxury its all golf, high end processed meals and cars. A life without hope of true peace. People at the bottom cling to a narrowing economic ledge. Some fall to homelessness or into the deportation center. Even the middle class have to spin many plates to avoid the fall to poverty.
We find beauty here in the sea and in gardens dominated by foreign flowers. The birds still catch the early morning sun. One morning I watched a line of pelicans float like rigid kites over beach and palms, bank and crash into the sea. Popping to the surface they flip up captured fish like pizza chefs and swallow them whole. I wondered if the locals still noticed things like this until a dog walker moves to the water and watches the scene with a posture suggesting wonder.
Back From LA
The birds still sing up the sun
barely sounding above the traffic stream
Pelicans skim over palm trees
to crash recklessly into the marina
for fish that still swim
Spoiled by years of silence
I struggle through the noise
in palms gilded by first light
these great rigid birds
and robin who tries to sing
over a the roar of the Number 56 Bus