Friday, December 7, 2012

"Another Day in Paradise"

Windansea Beach, La Jolla, CA

This is a common refrain by my in-laws who have been lucky enough to live in La Jolla for more than three decades. It never gets old, they still feel that way; they never take it for granted.  La Jolla is paradise, and the adjoining San Diego is equally Edenic. San Diego is often cited as the best place in the country to live. The vegetation is lush, the flowers are always in bloom, the weather is ridiculously consistent, I’ve been there in February and it was in the 70’s, and escaped many a Tucson summer to find it 70 degrees in July, the sunsets are spectacular, you can be outside all the time, biking, swimming, running, skateboarding, playing beach volleyball or holding a wedding without any fear of rain. The locals enjoy almost unlimited access to the Pacific Ocean. Even if you are on business at the San Diego Convention Center, as I was, you can step outside and see the yacht filled San Diego Bay and the beautiful bridge to Coronado.  Then hop in a car and make your way north through Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, until you reach loveliest of all, La Jolla. You can see the ocean from my in-laws’ balcony. But you cannot see Alaska.

One of my favorite runs is to go from their house two blocks down to the oceanfront, hang a right and head for Windansea beach, a small, spectacular stretch nestled between rocks and cliffs. There are some open vistas to the sea along the run but there are many oceanfront houses blocking the view, one more spectacular than the other, gates with Dolphin doorknobs on Dolphin Lane. As I ran I couldn’t help but wonder if these one-percenters knew how lucky they were. Probably not, money can’t buy happiness, right? It comes from within, right? Still, I wouldn’t mind having one of those houses. When I got to the beach, the sea was raging, there were record high waves and people were standing and staring at the ocean as if it were a gripping movie. Surfers were putting on their wet suits, taking a look and thinking twice. The ocean’s roar was powerful and awesome in the original sense of the word. Not as in: “That Instagram photo of your cat is awesome.” Truly awe-some.

When I was boarding the plane for departure, the Southwest pilot was asking passengers: “Are you ready to leave paradise?” No, I wasn’t. Every time I go to California I wonder why everyone doesn’t live there.  I’m just lucky enough to have a pass to Paradise which I will redeem on a regular basis.
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