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Enjoying another spring in paradise

May 06, 2010|By Reg Green

A few days ago I got an e-mail from Italy, which said: “You’ve had fire, floods, drought, now an earthquake. What else?”

It was from a friend, and I know the concern was genuine. But around the world there is surely a feeling that in Southern California we are getting payback for having been a little too smug about the climate.

Of course, there is a lot to be smug about. Other e-mails that have come in recent months have talked of devastating floods in the East, snowstorms in Rome and trains immobilized in the tunnel under the sea between England and France because of freezing weather, not to mention those Himalayan villagers who, because of disagreement among the scientists, don’t know if their glaciers are receding or expanding.


I have a friend whose house is at the foot of one of the best-loved mountains in northern England. It is a delightful hideaway but, oh, that climate. Whenever I have the winter blues, I know I can cheer myself up by Googling “weather Glossop UK” and expect to see an unbroken succession of “light rain,” “rain,” “heavy rain” and, if I’m lucky, “fog and sleet mixed with rain.”

Look what spring has brought here. Even on the front range of the San Gabriel Mountains, which was virtually denuded of vegetation by the last summer’s wildfire, a sheen of light green grass is spreading quickly over the gray slopes.

Working from home in La Cañada, I have the luxury of being able to seize an hour or so a day for hikes on the local hills, where the wildflowers have blossomed in the last week or two in a profusion unknown in areas close to most big cities. The butterflies are out, and green and yellow birds “chant melody on every bush,” as Shakespeare put it when trying to imagine the ideal day.

Everywhere, as you climb these hills, you see what to me is the most characteristic of all California views: a cloudless blue sky framed by luxuriant greenery while, at the top of the hills, close enough to downtown that you can almost touch it, there is a sense of isolation that most of the other largest cities in the world would die for.

It isn’t another perfect day in Paradise, I know. Those are Angelenos, not angels, filling up the freeways.

But it’s enough that, when I get calls from friends in Manhattan or London, who ask pointedly, “What do you do in La Cañada?” I happily answer, “We’re watching the grass grow.”

About the writer REG GREEN’S book, “The Nicholas Effect,” was recently reissued by AuthorHouse. His website is

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