Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Temecula Journal: Departure

watercolor by Hallie Cohen
Leaving Temecula, you take 15 South to San Diego. You face the verdant foothills with their vineyards which have now become a major wedding venue, though a far cry from Las Vegas. If you were hiking them during your stay, the climb was short but steep. In the elevator of the local Embassy Suites you meet a fellow traveler with a plate filled with sausages and eggs, talking about fortifying himself for the ceremony which lays ahead. Now as you hit the freeway the green of wine country gives way to a borderless sea of craggy rock. You emerge from a civilization filled with tradition and convention, of Indian and Spanish and modern marital culture into something more undefined than historical time. Throughout the centuries in which South California was populated by waves of settlers, no one has managed to leave any imprint on this rocky territory which has an extra-terrestrial appearance. The harshness has an almost emetic effect, in which the spirit is set free. There are famous sites in the area like the Joshua Tree National Park, but these rugged protuberances manage to remain formidable in another way. You may be anticipating a visit to the San Diego Zoo or to the USS Midway Museum, but for now you stare out at an endless vista with its seemingly infinite horizon.

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