Pets Care

California is each extraordinarily lovely and harmful

Within the movie Chinatown, a coroner named Morty chuckles over the useless physique of town’s water division chief.

“Isn’t that one thing?” Morty says. “Center of a drought and the water commissioner drowns. Solely in L.A.”

Not simply in Los Angeles, after all. All of California has a expertise for catastrophic paradox — as this winter is reminding us. At the same time as we endure underneath a harmful drought, atmospheric rivers flood communities, drive evacuations, and trigger dozens of deaths.

Our sunny climate makes us really feel alive, however  it additionally burns, destroying treasured landscapes, properties, and goals.

The best paradox of all, actually, lies in California’s magnificence. One of many world’s most breathtaking locations additionally produces excessive ugliness.

The most recent storms and floods focused our most gorgeous websites. Overflowing rivers turned the Monterey Peninsula into an island. Lightning struck the Golden Gate Bridge. Santa Barbara County ordered Harry and Meg and Oprah and all the attractive folks in Montecito to evacuate, earlier than their magazine-beautiful properties might slide down towards the ocean.

The logic of this place is difficult to simply accept. However right here it’s:

There’s nothing so harmful as magnificence.

And there may be nothing so lovely as California.

This is perhaps essentially the most harmful place on earth.

Present me one thing lovely in California, and I’ll present you a killer. These coastal waves you’ll be able to surf for hours? They’ll swallow you entire. The cliffs from which you watch the waves? They’re collapsing. The forest-carpeted mountains we like to discover? Simply a lot gasoline for the following firestorm.

Southern Californians like to brag that they will surf within the morning and ski within the afternoon. That’s true, however additionally they can flee the floods of the morning tide in Newport Seaside at breakfast, and escape fires on the mountaineering trails of the San Bernardino mountains by lunch.

The truth is that the sweetness that makes it nice to reside right here additionally makes it exhausting to reside right here. And this can be a human situation, not only a California one. “Life will be magnificent and overwhelming — that’s the entire tragedy,” Albert Camus noticed. “With out magnificence, love or hazard it will nearly be simple to reside.”

The best knowledge Californians may purchase is a mistrust of magnificence. The wisest amongst us don’t marry actors. They don’t purchase homes on hillsides.

And so they be taught to not belief their eyes. As a result of magnificence attracts us to risks, and in addition distracts us from them, it makes us miss large issues. In my reporting throughout California, I’ve developed a trick after I’m in an attention-grabbing place, which (extra possible than not) can also be lovely. I shut my eyes, and simply attempt to pay attention — to nature, or to what persons are saying. You find yourself studying extra that method.

In a time of lethal tragedy in California — and when is it not such a time? — it may be thought-about insensitive to consider all of the dangers we take by dwelling right here. It might sound as if as you’re forgetting, and even blaming, the human victims of our floods, our fires, our quakes, and, sure, our magnificence.

However these offended by such speak are as a lot in danger as the remainder of us, and wish the warning.  Maybe there ought to be some kind of disclosure kind that you just signal, upon coming into California. “I hereby acknowledge,” the shape may say, “that I’m dwelling in a movie noir. I cannot belief that superb mountain peak I need to scale, the waves crashing on the seaside, or the alluring blonde.”

After all, acknowledging risks can’t shield us from all of them. And behind the carnage of our catastrophes is an actual and enduring California query: Ought to we be right here in any respect?

It’s value remembering that Robinson Jeffers, maybe the emblematic twentieth century poet of California, lived amidst Carmel’s splendor — and concluded that the presence of people right here (and all through the planet) was the true downside. He suggested us all, his fellow Californians included, “to not worry loss of life; it’s the solely technique to be cleansed.”

“The fantastic thing about issues was born earlier than eyes and adequate to itself,” Jeffers additionally wrote. “The heartbreaking magnificence will stay when there is no such thing as a coronary heart to interrupt for it.”

It’s possible you’ll love California and all its rocks and valleys and waterways and gorgeousness. However the magnificence received’t love you again, a lot much less give you any sympathies.

Not even over your useless physique.

Joe Mathews writes the Connecting California column for Zócalo Public Sq..
Autor Joe Mathews


Journalist specialized in online marketing as Social Media Manager. I help professionals and companies to become more Internet and online reputation, which allows to give life to the Social Media Strategies defined for the Company, and thus immortalize brands, products and services. I have participated as an exhibitor in various forums nationally and internationally, I am the author of several articles in digital magazines and Blogs.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button