26 February 2008

Beautiful day

Breezy today, the dry winds from the back side of the heavy weather we saw at the end of last week. Not so vicious as the standard Santa Ana, simply soft, warm breezes, something more than a zephyr, but less than wind.

The leaves tend to sparkle in this weather, cleaned of their burden of particulates, and the sky is a very crisp blue. It won't last, this time of year, nor should it.

But the day offered a sense of possibility. It smells of pink jasmine, the earliest citrus, and hope, all of which can be easily quashed with a late season frost. For today, however, it was beautiful. Out walking at noon, hitting the summit from which I can sometimes catch a glimpse of Catalina, I found I was smiling at the sky.

I have two pictures, taken a long ago February Sunday at the park. L. and I had gotten bored, and ran off to see if there was any amusement to be found. Mall ratting wasn't a big draw, and the day was beautiful. We wandered from end to end of the park, skirting the ponds that were stocked with fish in the summer, arriving at the rose garden and bandstand. The roses were even blooming, and the smell was heady and sweet. We were approached by a guy, rather older than we were, who asked if we wanted to get high, and we laughed at him and ran back toward the waterfalls where families tended to congregate and picnic. There we were approached by the Scientologists who wanted to analyze our personalities...for free. We filled out their questionnaires, and ran off laughing once more.

L. was moving away at the end of the year, going back to New Hampshire, so we wanted pictures for remembrance. We'd spent two years getting up to fairly innocent no-good, but we'd also been given opportunities that few girls our age had in a small desert town. Her mother worked for the local PBS affiliate, and the two of us had gotten plenty of camera time during the station's fundraising drives. It was always fun to try to keep a straight face when a crank called in, and the producer always seemed to manage to get me on camera just when I had a nut on the phone. Our English teacher would call in, our classmates would call in to bother us, others would call in to harangue about programming issues. I spent some time working as a production assistant for a local news program the station was putting together, and discovered the joy of looking up statistics. We ran around town like we owned the place, took dance classes together, and rode over the Grand Canyon in a helicopter.

In the photo I took of her that day at the park, she is giving a sidelong glance, barely smiling, full of mischief, full of schemes that we had yet to even consider, schemes that might have included German chocolate cake or splitting a pair of earrings so each of us could wear one. The photo she took of me was full face, the look in my eye one of both challenge and hilarity, the smile huge and happy. There are people, even this many years later, who would recognize that gleam in my eye, who would know that smile.

Go listen to some good music: "Beautiful Day" from the album All That You Can't Leave Behind by U2.

No comments: