Monday, September 1, 2008

Almost 90 days later...

This trip to the central Valley has been an adjustment. First there is the heat and second there is the heat and then there is the desert, followed by the dust and some nearly treeless neighborhoods. The photo above is the "back yard" such as it is. The bits of green there are 'baby' tumbleweed plants. They grow with amazing speed and find rare water from I know not where. Until this week a cool day was in the low 90's and a brisk night - the 70s. The critters have had quiet an adjustment as have I. But adjusted we have and as we slipped into September I find that I have left my fear of the upcoming winter about 3000 miles behind me and that...IS A GOOD THING! Have not seen a single drop of water in the form of rain since I got here. A couple of times the humidity broke 30% and the 'natives' were uncomfortable, I didn't notice. Is 30% humidity well, humid?
I have to admit a certain lust for a few of the older neighborhoods that have trees and something that approaches shade. Grass graces the front yard but not the back. Everyone seems to have sprinklers. And those automatic gadgets do seem to make the best use of water.

We are surrounded by oil fields and orchards. The orchard below - almonds! I drive by this amazing site daily on the 10 mile trek to work. The orchard are flourishing on drip irrigation! Perhaps drawn from the California Aqueduct.

There is the oil drilling. Here (below) is one lone rig operating. It also gives you an idea of what the area looks like where no housing, city or agriculture exists. Oil and agriculture have coexisted here for a long time.

This is also the area the pages forever etched in the minds of so many in "The Grapes of Wrath."

Today there are malls with botox spas, women have that California look and yet with country sense to them and many men wear cowboy hats and jeans. Many seem to be both self conscious about being 'country' and yet defend it. The population is about half Caucasian and nearly half Mexican and then 'other' - which seems to be folks from the Philippines, India and some Asians. I love the mix. It is as vibrant as the drive for the California 'melting pot' approach to life is - in fact it helps ease that lemming like need to ignore national heritage and 'let's all be the same' that seems to have been the norm even when I left this State so many decades ago. The mood every where is up beat - of course, who wouldn't be with this much sunshine! The economy weighs on the minds of many and we are surrounded by houses in foreclosure. It is all an odd and interesting mix. Gone is the quiet solitude of the NH forest. People drive 50 miles an hour through neighborhoods and speed up for the freeway. This will be as interesting as the forest was - different - but interesting none the less!