“Growing up in northern California has had a big influence on my love and respect for the outdoors. When I lived in Oakland, we would think nothing of driving to Half Moon Bay and Santa Cruz one day and then driving to the foothills of the Sierras the next day.” ~ Tom Hanks
Where was this photo taken? At some resort hotel? Nope, it’s just the little kid’s park in the downtown area of our little town – you know, four swings, two slides, and something to climb on. And some grass and the lovely palm trees. The sun was still coming up in the sky, and I thought this made an interesting picture.
As you might be able to see, the deciduous trees are without their leaves because it is winter, which here means high 30’s at night and 50’s during the day. Not enough to kill off palm trees, but enough to rid the regular trees of their leaves – well, some of them. Those to the right are being fooled by the rain into thinking it is spring time.
And in a few weeks, like the end of February, it will be spring, thank God. The sun today is a nice break from the weeks of gray rain and fog. It’s nice to see the cloudless sky, which is what we usually enjoy during most of the year.
That’s just one of the reasons we love it here. There is so much natural beauty here in the San Francisco Bay area, it’s hard to leave it. I mean, we are just a few hours from Yosemite, an hour and half from San Francisco (one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen), and even my drive to work is filled with pastoral scenes of cows on green hills.
A few more observations I’ve made on California in the 15 years I’ve lived here:
- It is true, the cost of living here is high, and it’s hard if you want to be a one income family. You either live in a really small home or you live an hour away from where jobs and premium housing are.
- Earthquakes are unpredictable, but rarely fatal. I think most people are freaked out by the fact that you can’t predict them. We feel them maybe once a year while sitting at our desks or in a meeting, it feels like someone heavy just bumped into the table, or a truck hit the building somewhere. But that’s it, no big deal at all. I watch the news and marvel at the deaths and destruction caused in the rest of the country by flooding, cold, ice, and hurricanes. Of course, there are the fires, and some parts of California do get landslides from excess rain, but most of us are never touched by that.
- It’s not as liberal here as most non-Californians imagine. I mean, sure, San Francisco has it’s strong liberal element. But because this is a strong agricultural state, there are plenty of farm towns, and there are plenty of conservatives out here. At my job near the city, I’d say up to about half of the people I work with are conservative, which is probably a shock to the libs around here!
- Just like in other parts of the country, and even in history as recorded in the bible, cities are usually more liberal and sinful. I’m not sure why that is, but people closer to the earth seem to remember God more, while those closer to the cultural ‘power centers’ are often more anti-God, perhaps drunk with worldly power and values. As John the Apostle said:
For all that is in the worldâ€”the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of lifeâ€”is not of the Father but is of the world. (1 John 2:16)
I hope I get to stay here in CA. The sunshine makes me happy.