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A Walk in the Wilderness
The Road Taken
I have known a few people in my life who have the city running in their veins. Get them anywhere near an area where cell phone coverage is non-existent or Starbucks is not in sight and they go into full fledged panic mode. I am happy to say I am not one of those people!
I grew up in a Los Angeles suburb before uncontrolled developing took hold and grew all over any speck of land like a wild vine. My neighborhood was rows of ticky tacky little tract homes but we still had some undeveloped areas like the vacant lot across from our house that had a stream running through it where we could catch tadpoles and watch them become frogs. We spent hours playing all sorts of politically incorrect games like Cowboys and Indians or War. Parents never bothered us as long as we came in by dark. Unfortunately now that tiny lot is filled with rows of tract homes separated only by a few feet with postage stamp sized front yards. The rest of the lot became a connector road to a major highway. The tadpoles are long since gone.
The mountains (more than the beach) were my place of refuge whenever I needed a place to go where I could think without the noise of urban life. The San Gabriel's (the mountain range that is above Pasadena and extends through Hollywood) is where I would go. As a child my family would picnic and hike in the mountains. The many streams offered a cool swim in the sweltering heat of summer. In my teens, my friends and I would pile into someone's car and travel up Glendora Mountain Road to listen to music, drink and talk freely without the always intrusive parents we would encounter at each other's homes.
In times of trouble or those days when I needed to escape my mother's bipolar rants and melt downs, my dad and I would take a lunch and go up to the mountains for a long walk. It was my father who taught me to appreciate nature and all that it has to offer. He grew up on a ranch with thousands of acres and told me whenever he had a problem he took a long walk. By the time his walk was over, he either resolved his problem or it did not matter any longer. His words of advice have done me well all my life.
I find myself at a cross road. Unemployed and looking but not sure I want to return to corporate America, I seem to feel burned out by the constant adhering to office politics, dumb rules and idiotic reports (hopefully I am not ruining my chances with any future employer who may find this hub!) . I am conflicted as returning to my profession means money but finding a new career means starting over.
It is my conflict and indecision that has lead me to a walk in the wilderness today. I happened upon the Santa Rosa Plateau Reserve in Wildomar, California. I had no idea such a beautiful place was so near to my newly found hometown of Temecula. This land has been purchased by a conservatory and they are dedicated to preserving and restoring the eco system of this land located on 9,000 acres. And, I am so happy this beautiful land with ancient oak trees will be here for generations to come.
I start my walk on an easy 5 mile loop that meanders along oak trees with the sweet smell of sage brush in the air. I soon spot a Red Tail Hawk circling above apparently on the hunt for mice. I watch him for a while and I am in awe of his hunting skills. He hovers in the air over something in the tall grass and then swoops down plucking his prey from off the ground. I cannot see what the Hawk has caught and I don't really want to.
It is peaceful on this walk. No sounds of car alarms, ringing cell phones or noisy traffic. The only thing I hear is the wind gently blowing through the leaves of the centuries old oak trees.There is an occasional sound from one of the many hawks or other birds native to the land but besides those sounds-nothing. Just pure joyful silence.
I come to the Juan Moreno adobe which is still standing and has been renovated. Juan Moreno once owned this land having received a grant from the Mexican government and built the adobe in the 1800s. I rest on a bench on the patio of the adobe and listen almost hearing the sounds that were present when Juan Moreno and his family lived on the rancho. I look to my left and see a very large boulder with a fence surrounding it. The plaque on the fence has an old photograph taken in 1846 with Juan Moreno and his family sitting on the very boulder along with a tree that is estimated to be as old as when Jesus Christ walked the earth! Sitting here on this land, I feel very small and any conflicts I have are minor.
Walking on down the trail, I stop dead in my tracks as a rattle snake scurries across the path. This is his home. He belongs here more than me. As much as I hate snakes, I know that he has his place in this eco-system and I must give way to him besides he is less harmful then some of the corporate-type snakes I have encountered!
Half way on my hike I come to the vernal pools. The word vernal is derived from the Latin word meaning pool. The pools are teaming with plant life. In the summer these pools will be dried up and will not return until next winter. To everything there is a season.
I finally loop around to my destination which is returning to my car where it is parked near the beginning of this trail. I feel revitalized-renewed. What was it that was bothering me? I cannot recall. Suddenly I have cell service. My phone rings. A job offer is made. Humm.........do I want it or should I take another walk?