ESCAPE FROM HOT SUMMER IN NY TO PACIFIC COAST (AUG 5-AUG 11). -1-
A fancy Jet Blue airplane from Kennedy airport softly landed us in L.A. International
airport, crossing the state of NY, Lake Ontario, Penn State, Michigan, Illinois, the farm State of Iowa, Nebraska, mountain state of Colorado, Desert state Utah and Las Vegas, Nevada before she finally touched down. A view over the continent through the window of the plain in the sky at over 38,000 feet high was so beautiful enough to recognize the blessed land.
All these benefit that allows us to fly in the sky with 680 MPH is absolutely attributable to an advancement of science without noticing the rotating and revolving of the earth.
Beginning to drive up to the Santa Monica beach in 60 degree F weather from 90 degree in NY in order to plunge myself into cool ocean water seemed to me that I feel I’ve escaped the hot summer in the East coast was escaped. After a few hours swimming in the Monica beach people began moving into 3rd St. Promenade off the Santa Monica Blvd to enjoy walking at a pleasant evening and listening to country music being played with guitar by street singers. A singer Red Benson was entertaining us with “Blowing In the Wind” by Bob Dylan and motivated me to sing the song with him since I often would sing it at many Karaoke rooms in many different places; New York, Tokyo, Seoul, Korea. “How many seas must a white dove sail before she sleeps in the sand, how many years a mountain exists before they are washed to the sea…… The answer my friend is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind”. With that sort of sentiments I was more motivated to make this trip to the Pacific Coast. The meaning of that song was more touching my chord and culminated when I sang my favorite songs on the top of mountain in the Mugu State Park, overlooking the top of Santa Monica mountain in the back and the wild waves of the Pacific Ocean in the front.
Next day, my cousin Taehoon, who was involved as one of LA sheriffs to investigate the accidents, came to guide my whole family( wife, Caroline, Diane) to Palos Verdes peninsula where the famous actress Natalie Wood would fall in love with Robert Wagner, frequently yachting with her lover to the Santa Catalina Island, about 20 miles away from Ceilos Point, Palos Verdes, and ended up with legendary tragedy in the deep ocean, saddening her fans around the world.
In the evening, we climbed to the Griffith Observatory to look down over the panoramic view of the great city of Los Angeles, which similarly reminded us of the view of downtown, Seoul, that is observed from the top of Nam Mountain in Seoul.
On August 9th, we moved to Hermosa beach stretched out from the hilly rich town, which was first opened in 1907 when Korean people was suffering from under Chinese supervision and Japanese aggression, while rich Americans are already enjoying a luxury life in the ocean beach with family and their lovers. The 400-yard beach sand bed along the Pacific coast line is too long to be in vision. Hermosa beach
built beach deck extending out to the offing of the ocean, where the Palos Verdes peninsula can be seen to the far south in distance. On that day, a huge beach concert
was scheduled attracting more than a few thousand beach goers. People were camping on the beach in swimming suit, and dancing to the tune of rock music echoing along the coast. After the Concert, delicious fresh scallop and steamed shrimp dinner at the Hermosa Seafood restaurant made our trip more enjoyable and memorable.
On the final day, my daughter Caroline, taking off from her busy works with NBC universal in Manhattan flew up here to join us in an uphill trail hike at the Mugu State Park. After more than an hour hiking, we reached the top of the mountain, looking down over the blue ocean of the Pacific in front and desert mountain of Santa Monica to the back. Balmy ocean wind blowing from the Ocean and the high mountain spirit springing up from Monica Valley behind naturally motivated me to sing in highest volume the songs I could remember; Toward the Ocean I sang the song of “San Deul Baram” a Korean opera song, toward the bright sun “O, Sole Mio” an Italian Opera, Toward the deep Valley “ Red Valley” beginning “ From this Valley they say You are going”, toward the dying cactus burned by wild fire “ Green Green Grass Home “of Tom Jones, for my boyhood “Golden Grass Hill in boyhood”, toward the trail “ Jang Choon Dan Park “ of Bae Ho, to the aging self “ A Life is a Traveler” of Choi Hee Joon, “ Old Thoughts in My hometown” etc. Singing many songs on the top of hill seemed to drown my human agonies and thus contributing to vent my accumulated spleen in spite of myself.
The wild waving sound of the Pacific Ocean, the sea breeze blowing from the Pacific, bickering sound of seagull, the flying eagle chasing bait in high sky over the ocean certainly drove this humble man into ecstasies. The glimpse of visible green grass in the valley of the desert mountain on the other side was comparable to the beauty of Venus valley of female body. Imagining the rains flowing from the mountain into the sea reacting with minerals, it will provide nutrition and hormone to humans to give birth of a new life and create a power of survival and life. Being thankful to the source of water for human being, human wastes in alchemy with minerals from the earth, fishes could live on it, our life cycle keeps going on in this earth.
I was wondering what poems Walter Whitman and Henry Longfellow would sing if they were here at this moment breathing in the fresh air of the ocean and mountain. Gazing at a new sprout on the trail creek in the desert mountain, I salute to its will and determination to survive without raining .How powerful it is and how strong is its will to survive. Are there any differences between a plant and human being in overcoming the toughest conditions of no water and no nutrition ?
My journey to the Pacific coast surely gave me a momentum to review the fundamental struggle for survival.
In the deep valley of Malibu facing the vast Pacific Ocean, there is the Getty Villa, where ancient Greek civilization is still breathing with balmy winds blowing from the ocean at least for 2,000 years.
On the sunny hill the Getty Villa is modeled after a First century Roman country house with collections highlighting over 1,200 works in 23 galleries organized by theme. In the Getty museum, antiques date back from 6,500 BC to AD 400 according to the booklet.
Monumental sculptures such as the victorious Herakles are showing status of powerful youth, together with life size bronze sculptures from ancient Greece including ancient philosophers of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Gardens reflect reflecting the ancient Roman home. The ancient Mediterranean culture reminds us of ancient history; temple of Herakles gallery, and the villa dei Papiri in Herculaneum, Italy.
The Getty Villa is one of the rare places to review the ancient Greek civilization.
Driving along the pacific coast highway No. 1 with ocean wind at the temperature of 60 degree was a memorable escape from 90-degree summer in New York.
Swimming at Santa Monica Beach, Malibu Beach and Mugu Beach was an adventure to a New Yorker.
Along the coast, many interest points attract the eyes of travelers when travelers are busy to drive, watching on the left side the blue ocean. Along the ocean front highway, signs read Ventura, Santa Barbara, Santa Monica, Latigo Canyon Rd, Paradise Cove, Zuma beach, Pepperdine Univ. on the sunny hill, Morning View Hill, Trancas canyon, Broad Beach, Leocarillo, Longa St. Village, Sycamore Cove Canyon, Pt. Mugu State Park under the rim of Santa Monica Mountain. All strikes our fancy as we proceed with an address beginning 25,000 to the number 33,550 and up. Some villages along the coast line such as Pepperdine Univ. town, Morning View, Paradise Cove offer a captivating view over the ocean to settle down as a desired retirement place.
Trip to Pacific coast in August 2015 was colored with passionate exotic flower of Bougainvillea, palm trees, cactus, Yucca, along the coastline, while smelling the strong sense of Mexican culture. Desert mountain on the shoulder of the Pacific Coast is not necessarily making travelers including me lonely and poor in mind. The shore acts as a good compromise to fill the deficiency of forest in the desert mountain.
Escape from the hot summer was a great venture and pleasure in the year 2015.
Hubert Hojae Lee, Ph.D.
. Commissioner of Human Rights, O/C, NY State
.Chairman of Korean American Foundation USA
.1st VP of KWVA Chapter 202, Orange County
.Republican Presidential Task Force in US Senate.