Yesterday’s holiday gave me pause. Off the merry go round of everyday routine, I took the hound and headed for the hiking trails of Beechwood Canyon. It’s our usual familiar stomping ground. Part of the expanse of Griffith Park, its trails snake up the steep slopes of the Hollywood Hills that reach close to the Hollywood sign. You often run into tourists asking how they can get to the sign. It’s unclear what people expect when they get here. Various photographs rife with photo shop imagery allowed the world to believe the Hollywood sign is a place were you can go and have brunch under the “L”, or lean against the “W” while looking out at the LA vista stretching toward the sparking ocean on the horizon. When I come upon these hopeful travelers longing to be near this famous iconic landmark, I have to break the news. You really can’t get to the sign unless you are met head on with angry locals who want you to stop clogging their streets with your car rentals.
Hollywood has molded the image of itself and its very essence is in the letters of that iconic sign. I can see it from my street. It’s the new Empire State Building in my makeshift Los Angeles world. When one comes here, they believe touching the Hollywood sign is like touching fame and fortune. Yet, fame comes at a cost. Whether you sell your soul to live by the Hollywood dream, or whether your car veered off a sharp turn and tumbled into a ravine – it comes at a cost.
While on our hike, we continued up our trail, now filled with chatty hikers and skateboarders heading for the concrete hills where they congregate, I saw a big dip in the ground, likely the hard worn pathway of a dried up stream. It was steep, dug in rocky and dangerous gaps between the trail and this lush beautiful area across the way. The green hill was filled with peace and quiet, with a yellow butterfly dancing from blade of grass to tree branch. It looked like heaven.
The big dip was a bit perilous, yet as we moved along, it took different heights. When I found a part of the dip that seemed okay to walk down and over – we crossed over to this quiet patch of thick, naturally growing grass. It was pristine. Well almost. There were lonely sprawls of beaten walkways worn down to dirt, snaking up into the dark shadows of incline that went to nowhere. They were remnants of footsteps lead by hikers who “took the road less traveled.” The grass itself had been trodden into flat walkways leading up hill to a few boulders, marked with graffiti on their surface, flat enough to sit on. They were likely used for nighttime bullshit by some really crappy graffiti artists. (As opposed to good graffiti artists.)
We made our way up this grassy hill to a zen like garden of small trees. And there we sat. Away from the fray. Situated in a lush zen. Baxter was munching long strands of grass as if he were a cow. Me, feeling like I found a little piece of something I left behind before I came into this world.
Going off the beaten path, separating yourself from the chatty fray of hikers – you take the chance on a greener patch of grass. And you do find a bit of heaven.