A Pleasant Way To Finish The Year

December 31, 2009 – While much of the country is freezing I was enjoying some of this global warming I keep hearing about.

By The Cerebral Aesthetic Vagabond

I was not planning to do anything special on this final day of the year, as if it’s such a big deal anyway. Is tomorrow, the first day of 2010, going to be any different from today, the last day of 2009? I think not. Were it not for Pope Gregory arbitrarily erasing something like ten days from the calendar back in the sixteenth century, we wouldn’t even be celebrating the new year on the day we do today. And what’s the point of New Year’s resolutions? Is there something special about a resolution made at the beginning of the year? Are such resolutions any more likely to be realized than those made on any other day? Again, I think not.

Nevertheless, while shipping my laptop computer out for repair today, I discovered that today was one of those exceptional days that should not be wasted. The air was crystal clear, dry, with a hint of fall-like crispness, cool but not cold and free of chemtrails.

So I hurried home, grabbed a bite to eat and headed out to the convenient Mission Trails Regional Park, where I had a slightly eventful hike last month. Either the signage in the park, or my powers of observation improved since my last hike there because it was quite easy to find my way this time. Perhaps it was the late hour that honed my navigational skills. Getting started at 12:30 PM was a bit late given the shortness of the days this time of year. I couldn’t afford to make a mistake like the last time, so I didn’t.


Kwaay Paay Peak, where last time I had to hike down that crease in the center of the photo. Too bad I didn’t know at the time that there was a nice trail just a couple hundred feet to the south. Doh!

The weather today was stunning. Among those hills the temperature was nearly seventy degrees, on December 31! The daytime temperatures where I used to live in Kentucky are in the thirties right now, which is not to imply that I prefer San Diego to Kentucky. Actually, it’s a toss up. Sure, the weather is nice here and I shudder at the thought of being in my old house in Kentucky right now, the only house I ever lived in that could literally be warmed up by opening the refrigerator! I’m not exaggerating. I’d get up in the morning and the temperature inside the house would be 33 degrees Fahrenheit, colder than the refrigerator, which was 40 degrees. The house was over 100 years old and lacked any sort of insulation, and I just didn’t have the funds with which to remedy that deficiency. Still, I miss that house; I miss my nice friends and neighbors; I miss my beloved doggy friend Boo-Boo. Had I an income or sufficient funds, I would have stayed there because it’s a far more pleasant place than California. If people knew what they were missing out on they’d leave places like congested, tyrannical California in droves. Hopefully, my little secret will remain just that, at least long enough for me to return to Kentucky.

In the meantime, I make the best of my present surroundings, such as by hiking in shorts and a t-shirt and getting a suntan in the middle of winter. Today I ascended North Fortuna peak, which is where I was headed last month when I made a wrong turn. Today I found my way effortlessly.


Winter in San Diego. The view coming down from North Fortuna peak.From the peak one can easily see the ocean.

From North Fortuna it’s an easy segue to South Fortuna, scarcely a mile to the south across a “saddle” ridge. One of the coolest encounters along the way was with this huge Caterpillar D9R. I’ve always loved earthmoving equipment like this, the bigger, the better.


Caterpillar D9R. Those treads are nearly seven feet high!

As kids we used to play on earthmoving equipment we found in the many new housing developments that sprouted up around us, that is, until one day when a nasty old security guard chased us away. I once watched a beast like this one demolish an old grocery store in about half an hour. It was so cool to watch that I ended up being late for work by half an hour.

Citing cost savings, my company has given us this week off without pay, which is why I have more time for wordsmithing. I don’t know how my coworkers feel about it, but I love it! Although I love my job, I also love my free time. Yet I cannot help but think that if the owner is worried about cutting costs, it may not be long before he starts cutting staff, and I would likely be one of the first to go. Last to arrive, first to go. But the thought doesn’t break my heart.

Prior to accepting this job I was fixin’ to move to Detroit, which despite its obvious problems, is possibly leading the way to the future. Nowhere has the death of the retail/consumer culture been so evident as in Detroit. I mean, that city of 900,000 people boasts only four Starbucks! There are no major grocery stores remaining, and the last new car dealership – in the “motor city” – just closed its doors. Whereas the city government, in all its esteemed wisdom, seems to think that the solution is to bulldoze the nether regions of the city, shrinking it to a size that the government, with its emasculated budget, can supervise, other people are starting to see opportunity. Such as in urban farms. Exactly! That’s precisely the sort of innovative revitalization we need in this country. Get rid of the f’ing retail stores, the corporations and so forth, and replace them with urban gardens and farms and small scale, localized production. The biggest problems facing that city are 1) civil unrest could get out of control because there are so many unemployed people and so many people dependent on government support; and 2) the government’s desire to compact the city to a size it can “manage” is potentially an even graver threat. Nevertheless, I see tremendous opportunity in Detroit as a model for the future of America, not to mention the appeal of the cheap houses.

So if and when I lose my job, I’ll be on the next boat to either Detroit or Kentucky, I’m not sure which. Kentucky is certainly a known and appealing quantity, and I have friends there, but Detroit sounds exciting, maybe even in the wrong way, as in the Mad Max sort of way. Still, there’s no denying that would be exciting.

The End