|From Mulholland looking towards the San Gabriels, 6.15am|
What, really, is the point of fighting insomnia? Mine gets worse with jetlag. I fell asleep after dinner at a friend's house last night. She is a good friend, someone who understands what I mean when I say, I'm just going to lie down on the sofa for a moment. Others would worry and take me to the emergency room. I am, to be fair, borderline narcoleptic, and should probably wear a hat letting people know, or a t-shirt, or one of those nice copper bracelets. I had a lovely sleep on the sofa while the others finished dinner and woke up feeling rather refreshed. I am aware that this isn't what one should do, and that Emily Post would be horrified.
The upside is waking up early. I woke at 4.45am and was out of the house at 6. I took the back route up Sunset Plaza, over Lookout Mountain, past Wonderland school and up Laurel Pass to Mulholland. The sky was blue and pink and orange as the sun had just made an appearance, and I saw no-one else, which made me enormously happy. My regular parking spot was open and I left my trusty pearly red rental Corolla there and headed down the hill towards Studio City, along the trail where I used to hear the owl every night, with the old California oaks and there nearly black gnarled trunks. The trail is hard, calcified, from no rain. Any rain now would just slide off it, and I remembered the tree trunk outside the Smithsonian which now looks like rock...will this earth ever break up into smaller particles again? Have you ever swam in the ocean and gone through hot and cold pockets of water? It's the same on this trail. You can turn a corner and suddenly the air becomes icy cold, go round the next bend and there is a burst of warm air coming from the direction of the sun. Isn't life like that? Once you get to the road, which is I suppose technically the doña streets, it winds around and brings you into Fryman. I went in the back way, past George Clooney's and Leah Thompson's houses, and the ones with pigs and chickens and horses in the back, up the hill towards the rainforest. It's odd walking without dogs. Your focus settle somewhere in the middle distance when you're not paying attention to fourleggeds around your feet. My mind is supposed to settle but it races. I remember everything I like and don't like about LA. I remember how many times I've walked here and with who, and the conversations we've had, and where we stopped for pictures, and I think about the San Gabriels and how they remind me of a pie crust. We are the filling. But mostly, I worry about how the rabbits get water, and whether there is enough water in the sage brush.
I think our brains are too full. I think mine is, anyway. My neck hurts from the way I crank it over my phone, absorbing ephemera. I long of the clarity you get when you dive into cold Ocean water. I long for that optimistic clarity and un-clogged-upness you get after a long, long yogic meditation. Where there is nothingness but the nothingness is filled with meaning and beauty and a sense that everything will be well.