Monday, October 12, 2015

Big Bear

Dear friends,

I would like to begin this post by telling you why you should come visit southern California:

1. We have some of the best, crispy, hot-out-of-the-fryer tortilla chips you'll ever eat. Also, we have enchiladas. Also, nachos. Also, flautas. Also, flan. Also, arroz con leche. Also: we can stuff our faces with fried Mexican food while watching the sun set over the Pacific ocean. In our shorts. And flip flops. In January.

2. Laguna. Laguna beaches have the clearest, most turquoise water I've seen on the west coast. It's easy for me to pretend I'm in Costa Rica when I'm nestled in a Laguna cove. Although I'm never tempted to pretend this...

3. ..Because we have Nektar juice bars here. You can just walk right up and order a heaping helping of kale juice sweetened with pineapple and apple juice and then drink six servings of vegetables in three short minutes. This is especially compelling if you've ever tasted plain old kale. Sweet mother of Jesus, save us from plain old Kale.

4. The desert. It's just 1.5 hours away, and the stars out there. They defy language.

5. The mountains. They're also just 1.5 hours away and the air up there. It's crisp and clean and smells like dry pine.

And this brings me to my point: I escaped to the mountains this weekend. It was just glorious.

Big Bear Lake is one of my favorite southern California mountain destinations. It's surrounded by picturesque hiking trails, boasts a cute little downtown, and swirls with crisp, pine-y breezes. The smell of dry pine makes me want to dance and sing the hallelujah chorus.

The weather's been hovering around 100 degrees here lately, so a friend and I spent Saturday at Big Bear Lake where it was a nice, cool 70 degrees.

We spent the first part of the day exploring a more populated corner of the lake before settling in our lounge chairs, our legs propped up on a comfy log, in a quieter area. We'd brought poetry (for reading), smash ball (for tournaments), and running shoes (for hiking), but we ended up lounging in the sun and talking all day.

Occasionally, we took breaks from conversation to blow bubbles.

But then we returned to talking. And boy, did we cover a lot of territory. Most remarkably, we've come up with some great research proposals. For one, we'd like to know whether or not gas-passing humor is similar in all cultures in all places. For example, will a tribe in Papua New Guinea respond to high-pitched, startling gas-passing the same way a group of California Americans will? I feel quite certain universities across the country will be clamoring to offer us research grants for this project.

Good conversation and loads of rest under the autumnal suns are some of my favorite things.  On Wednesday of last week I noted my body was feeling better than it has in ten months, so for the remainder of the week I exercised, worked, and socialized more than usual. And my body still felt good. But I was tired come Saturday and was happy to lie under a tree and listen to the birds. I love that I can lie quietly and enjoy the beauty around me without the distraction of hellish symptoms these days. Lately I've been lying under trees as much as possible. On Saturday, we laid under a particularly fine Russian tree named Ivan. He sheltered us until the sun set.

The sun sets entirely too quickly in Big Bear, so we packed up before I was ready (what about the Smash Ball?! The hiking?! The poetry?!) but we decided to have Mexican food for dinner, which made leaving okay.

Also, the stars in the mountains ain't half bad.

It was the perfect fall escape. If you come visit, I'll take you up to the mountains.

Happy Monday, people. Good luck plowing through your to-do lists. And if you need a break from to-do lists, I highly recommend finding a tree to lie under.

I'm cheering for you, Home Skillets.



© by scj

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