Sunday, August 22, 2004

Just back from my first trip of the year to my pulpit. It's in a little town 300 miles up Hwy 99, which makes for a very long Friday (driving up before services) and a long Sunday (driving back, after religious school.)

I've been making that drive for a year now, and while initially I dreaded it, it's become part of my routine. I hate the first bit -- getting out of LA -- because I have two choices for that: do it early, during rush hour, or a bit later, when I will have to hustle for the rest of the day, but I won't have to fight rush hour on the 405. There's no good way, I've decided, just grit my teeth and drive.

As I climb the mountains and the LA radio stations begin to choke and hiss static at me , though, the scenery turns wild and beautiful and the traffic isn't bad. There's a gorgeous wilderness up there, miles and miles of it, hills that tumble on both sides of the freeway, and surprising vistas. It's not green, this time of year -- burnt browns and oranges and grays -- and you can see the scars from old wildfires, but it is beautiful as only a California wilderness is beautiful. The road passes Pyramid Lake, which has a pyramid-like island in the middle of it, and somewhere out of sight of the road there is also Castaic Lake. Those miles shake the smog out of my brain; generally I turn off the radio and drive in glorious silence.

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