Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Search for Hidden Beauty Along the Railroad Tracks

After looking at Julie's photo of the river somewhere in Arizona I got all inspired to grab the camera, and take a hike up in the hills. We've had decent rainfall; everything is greening up, and the trails are dry enough to walk on.
But, well- er- uhhh. Things came up, that's it! You always have to be careful of things, you know?- because- they- uh- come up. And, uh- oh, hell. I was just too damn lazy.
So I devised a brilliant, and just artistic as all get out plan B. I'd go for a walk down the railroad tracks near the house, and photograph the beauty hidden in plain sight. You know the spiel: if we all would just take the time out of our busy and hectic days, we'd see beauty everywhere, and appreciate how wonderful it all is despite the fact that the world is going to hell in a handbasket. So here it is folks. Complete with inspirational footnotes sprinkled here and there just to show you all that you too can find glory in a dump, if only you'd get your churlish head out of your ass and look for it. The beauty, that is- not your head.

This is it. The railroad easement between Beach Boulevard, and First Avenue. This place is just loaded with hidden potential.

You have to keep in mind that the LA/Orange County megaburb is the ultimate urban driving environment on the planet, and the nearest real dirt road is hundreds of miles away from here. That's why SUV's and four wheel drive trucks are so popular. People want to let you know that they're really just country folk trapped in the city. And whenever there's rain, there's hard-to-get mud to be found near the tracks. What better way to authenticate your country road street cred than by driving around in a mud spattered vehicle? They come from miles around to this little stretch of unpaved path to get their supply.
Sometimes ducks come here. There weren't any ducks today
An archipelago of mini islands like a string of- well, no they're not really much like a string of anything- in tumbleweed pond.

The Loch Ness Rabbit makes a rare appearance

Yaaarrrggghh. Here be monsters. Tread with trepidation all ye who walk these paths.
All right. There was some pretty stuff after all. It's just that I'm a crappy photographer, and most of the shots didn't come out so well. But these berry thingies are pretty cool.
Here's the symbolic picture. The ball represents Gaia, all spattered with pollution, and warming away like a feverish patient who has a bad case of peopleoma virus, and instead of being cared for in a loving way is lying there neglected in the tall grass of humankind's negligence. This is a sad picture, in case you didn't get the symbolism.
But there were lupines, as well.



Joan of Argghh! said...

Ah, this was fun, and lovely!

walt said...

The tall grass which cradles the sickened Gaia looks familiar ... don't know its name, but those seed heads used to get stuck in my shoe laces. Oh, now I recall: foxtail! The grass that gets in dog's and cat's eyes. Ahh, SoCal!

And framing the lupine (so pretty next to California poppies -- the whole southern end of the San Joaquin Valley used to be carpeted with those two, for miles and miles, and maybe still is) is framed by the ubiquitous malva weed, which is actually a hibiscus (or vice versa; I forget) but a weed nonetheless; and fillaree, which is briefly pretty when it blooms. Next time, perhaps you'll do time-lapse shots, for full effect.

The Loch Ness Rabbit was a treat; first one I've ever seen! You were in the right place, at the right time, obviously.

And remember, that same "mud" grows damn good oranges and avocados! You yourself said you could recall back to when there were orchards.

All and all, your shots remind me of the old Disney educational film, Nature's Half Acre, except for no shots of bugs. As I recall, the bugs come out when it warms up, right?

Robin Starfish said...

Ha! A superior guided tour, and to spot the Loch Ness Rabbit, well, people pay big money for that!

Did you kick Gaia back to the playground?

Ricky Raccoon said...

John :-D
I love the Gaia Ball. Man, you could make a bundle selling those things…or call it Biosphere 3 – the Play at Home version.

julie said...

I, too, think the Loch Ness Rabbit is a brilliant bit of evidence that truly, here there be monsters.


And I totally understand about Things. I find they come up all the time; in fact, the only reason I went this week was because I had a phone call on Monday and the outing became a Thing that had come up. Otherwise, I tend to sit at home, attending to other Things, chastising myself for not going out and taking nice pictures more often.

will said...

There is nothing but nothing more romantic, more soul-tingling, more redolent of the American Dream, more ma-and-pa-front-porch mystical than the sight of train tracks. As far as I'm concerned, train tracks are ley lines made manifest. Good photos, all of 'em, but I do love them tracks. In fact, I am inspired to quote song lyrics by some song-writer or another . . .

(from "The Railroad Will Never Die")

Holy tracks a’trembling,
Holy whistle on through dawn,
That cross-country rattle gives you the means
To read the writing on the walls of your dreams,
She’s a ghost in the pines,
And the railroad will never die –

Holy tracks a’humming,
Holy wheels rolling on,
They laid those tracks down in faith, sweat, and blood
To bring you avocado and the Idaho spud
So you can live and breathe,
And the railroad will never die –

Holy tracks a’singing,
Song of country, song of soul,
Down in Quincy there’s an uncle of mine
Who says he found his true love out on the Waterford line,
And that was forty years ago,
That’s why the railroad will never die –

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Outstanding! I didn't know there was still wide open spaces in LA. :^)

And to find the elusive lochness rabbit, well that's just plain lucky right there.

Great comments too. I love the lyrics of that song, Will. Very fitting. I always think of Johnny Cash when I see railroad tracks.

Linda S. Socha said...

I am not sure what the symbolism of this means but frankly I was rather taken with the rabbit...and I have to admit. the guide seemed quite well informed..and funny.