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southern california paradise

Today was pretty parasisiacal right from the start: clear and cool, it was such a wonderful morning that everyone should have been out playing in it, and it was just a shame that we had to stay in and do laundry and work on installing Moveable Type. Happily, both things were eventually accomplished and we got to go somewhere that was a fair match for the weather's splendors, and indeed even surpassed them: Solstice Canyon Park.

The park is in Malibu, just up a little road off PCH that you'd barely notice, because it goes up into a canyon that can't be more than thirty yards wide: so narrow that in a few seconds the canyon walls shut out the view, and the sound, of the highway and you're plunged into a cool tree-shaded canyon that looks like it can't possibly be within 300 miles of Los Angeles. It was amazing to see real trees (city trees are never the same, and even the ones in Will Rogers' were pretty dusty), and even more amazing to be walking up a narrow path besides a burbling brook. It was almost like New Hampshire!

We didn't stay beside the brook long, because we took a side path that brought us up the canyon wall back towards the mouth, and then back the other way still higher, so that after twenty minutes we were looking down at the path we had been on before from who knows how high up (though not far at all in horizontal distance). Up and up it went, and it got hotter and hotter and more an more plagues with flies; but then the trail turned downwards again, and finally back at the canyon floor it deposited us next to a wonderful ruin surrounding a waterfall, or series of waterfalls, at the beginning of the back of the canyon.

The ruins were those of Tropical Terrace, a house built in the 1950s and destroyed in 1982 by fire; but while only a quarter century old the ruins looked like they belonged to a long-lost ancient civilization, with the palm trees and succulants that had been part of the garden overgrowing the stones and contrasting very strangely with the surrounding live oak and eucalyptus. And there were stone structures and statuary and the waterfulls, only smallish trickles really but still wonderfully pleasant and cool and mossy, and rocks to climb on and deep cool shade. Photographs were taken.

Then we left in a hurry, because it had taken us how long to get to the ruins over half the mountains in the Santa Monica range, and now we had to get back in an hour to meet Leah's mother for dinner! Fortunately there was also an easy way to the Tropical Terrace, and taking it back (moving at a good clip) we found back at the parking lot in oh, fifteen minutes.

All the hurry was worth it though, because we got to go out to a very pleasant restaurant in Malibu and eat a great deal of quite delicious food. Too much, indeed, both in quantity and richness, to our poor stomachs accustomed as they are to more spartan fare. It tasted awful good though, so stomachs will just have to lump it. And now it's time for bed, and again I can say: won't we sleep well tonight.

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