Paradise and Joyfulness

“I’d rather have roses on my table
then diamonds on my neck.”
Emma Goldman

 

Paradise and Joyfulness

Today on my walk, I came across some birds of paradise that were in full bloom. I couldn’t resist taking some photos of this exotic looking flower which happens to be the official flower of Los Angeles.

How did this South African flower become LAs official flower? Well, back in 1952, Mayor Fletcher Bowron decided to name the bird of paradise the official flower of LA, after heavy lobbying by seed company president and civic booster Manfred Meyberg. Soon after, the plant and seeds from this orange and blue flower became a hot item in nurseries throughout California.

The bird of paradise flower is so named because its magnificently colorful petals resemble a colorful bird in flight. The flower is a symbol of paradise as well as a symbol of joyfulness.

How apropos for Angeleno’s official City flower to be a symbol of paradise and joyfulness.

Shine On

2020 Earth Day

“Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers,
the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters,
and teach some of us more
then we can ever learn from books.”
John Lubbock

 

2020 Earth Day 2

 

Fifty years ago today, a man named Gaylord Nelson, then a U.S. Senator from Wisconsin began Earth Day. He was inspired after witnessing the ravages of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could infuse that energy with an emerging public consciousness about air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda.

Senator Nelson announced the idea for a “national teach-in on the environment” to the national media; persuaded Pete McCloskey, a conservation-minded Republican Congressman, to serve as his co-chair; and recruited Denis Hayes as national coordinator. Hayes built a national staff of 85 to promote events across the land.

As a result, on the 22nd of April, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.

Earth Day 1970 achieved a rare political alignment, enlisting support from Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, city slickers and farmers, tycoons and labor leaders. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. “It was a gamble,” Gaylord recalled, “but it worked.”

As 1990 approached, a group of environmental leaders asked Denis Hayes to organize another big campaign. This time, Earth Day went global, mobilizing 200 million people in 141 countries and lifting environmental issues onto the world stage. Earth Day 1990 gave a huge boost to recycling efforts worldwide and helped pave the way for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. It also prompted President Bill Clinton to award Senator Nelson the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1995) — the highest honor given to civilians in the United States — for his role as Earth Day founder.

Why do we need an Earth Day? Because it works! Earth Day broadens the base of support for environmental programs, rekindles public commitment and builds community activism around the world through a broad range of events and activities.

Earth Day is the largest civic event in the world, celebrated simultaneously around the globe by people of all backgrounds, faiths and nationalities. More than a billion people participate in campaigns every year.

So, don your favorite face masks, go outside and celebrate in 2020 fashion, Earth Day.

Shine On

A Joy Forever

“A thing of beauty
is a joy forever.”
John Keats

 

Mosaic Tile 3 Mosaic Tile 1 Mosaic Tile 2

Mosaic Tile 6 Mosaic Tile 5 Mosaic Tile 9

The Esplanade in Redondo Beach runs North and South along the ocean. To get to Esplanade from LAX, travel South on Catalina Avenue and just one block past Torrance Boulevard is Pearl Avenue. Make a right at the light, which is Pearl Avenue and you will be on the beginning of the North end of Esplanade. The Esplanade ends at the Miramar Park at Vista Del Mar.

These colorful mosaics were added to the City of Redondo Beach Esplanade in 2010. Beautifully hand created mosaics decorate the street pillars on Avenue C as well as on the Esplanade walk ways. Simple works of art for all to behold and become a joy forever.

Shine On

World Reboot

“The practical importance
of the preservation of our forests
is augmented by their relations to
climate, soil and streams.”
John Muir

World Reboot

Around the globe humanity is in a crisis. Here in California, Governor Newsom announced a state wide “Stay Home” program for all our 40 million people. It was strongly recommended to everyone stay home and not go out unless to exercise or get necessary supplies for you or your family. We are living in unprecedented times.

Spring arrived yesterday with very little recognition. I was only reminded it was spring by a reminder from my iPhone. At a time of year when most of us are happy to welcome spring, the Coronavirus situation has created health and economic anxiety for all humans. I believe  there is a massive silver lining in all of this.

If we can quiet the mind just enough and listen, we will hear Mother Nature breathing a subtle yet immensely deep sigh of relief. The air is cleaner. The water is cleaner. Proving that if we just leave nature alone it has the power to restore itself, quickly.

As I take my daily walks, I see dolphins and whales and wonder what the dolphins and whales are feeling right now. If I were able to know, I would say they are elated that the water they live in and the air they breathe is being purified and cleansed.

The question becomes, how will humans respond?  Whether we like it or not, we are all impacted by this. Our patterns of living have been enormously disrupted. Our health and finances lie in the balance. And how we treat each other has become more important than ever.

In the midst of great fear and uncertainty – all of which is legitimate – this becomes a huge opportunity for us. The optimist in me wants to believe this will be the wakeup call our species has desperately needed. This is our chance to realize we truly are all in this together, that what I do affects you and vice versa. ‘We are One’ is a Truth, not just a pleasant-sounding spiritual philosophy.

My hope is that even though the fear is palpable and justified, we can come from a place of Love for each other and for this majestic planet we call home as the World reboots.

Shine On

Bicycling’s Golden Age

“When the spirits are low,
when the day appears dark,
when work becomes monotonous,
when hope hardly seems worth having,
just mount a bicycle and go out
for a spin down the road,
without thought on anything
but the ride you are taking.”
Arthur Conan Doyle

Bike Poster 1890s

Victor, Victoria bicycles Overman Wheel Co., 1896. Artist: Will Bradley

During the turn of the century, the modern bicycle sparked a nation-wide bicycle craze. Zeal for this new two-wheeled vehicle became especially popular in Southern California. With California’s ideal year-round weather conditions, this new healthy outdoor activity attracted both young and old as well as men and women.

Enthusiasts organized group rides across the Southland, formed local bicycle clubs, and lobbied for the construction of bicycle roads.

bicycles-come-to-california

LA Times Bicycle Club members ride north on Western Avenue toward Hollywood. Circa 1894

The most famous bicycle route was the California Cycleway, an elevated bikeway extending from the historic Los Angeles Plaza to Pasadena’s Hotel Green. Made of Oregon pine, the cycleway had easy grades, sparing cyclists from the hilly terrain between the two cities.

california-cyclewayA one-and-a-quarter-mile stretch of the privately financed cycleway, pictured here, opened in 1897 between the Hotel Green and South Pasadena’s Raymond Hotel.

Unfortunately, by 1910 the cycleway had fallen into disuse. Its full route to Los Angeles was never completed. Today, the Arroyo Seco Parkway uses much of the California Cycleway’s original right-of-way.

Another popular cycling corridor lay between Los Angeles and the town of Hollywood. The Los Angeles Times Bicycle Club organized runs along the route, whose unpaved roads eventually became our modern-day, traffic-choked boulevards.

With cycling becoming more and more popular, the beach community of Santa Monica with the help of The Southern Pacific Railroad, built the “Santa Monica Cycle Path”. The 1896 photograph below, shows the beginning of the bike path which later extended to Downtown Los Angeles.

sm-bike-path

Santa Monica to Los Angeles cycle path @ 1896

Meanwhile in the Northern California town of Davis, the high-wheel bicycle was making a surge. Because the agricultural land around the City of Davis is flat and the climate is relatively mild year-round, riding a bicycle became the mode of transportation and an easy way to get around town.

University of California students have been coming to Davis since 1908 and bicycling has always been an important part of their campus experience. After the city incorporated in 1917, the increasing number of paved roads encouraged local citizens to take up cycling.

Due to rapid growth of the university and the city, traffic conflicts between bikes and vehicles were increasing throughout the 20th century. After acknowledging that the well-educated and well-traveled citizenry would be receptive to European-style bikeways, the Davis City Council decided in 1967 to create a few short blocks of bicycle lanes. As a result, Davis became the first city in the United States to install official city bicycle lanes.

1900 bike pathThe combined system of bicycle lanes and dedicated bike paths today reaches well over 100 miles in a small town that is only about 11 square miles. Davis has become a model for hundreds of U.S. cities because of its safe, integrated bicycle transportation network. The UC Davis campus has developed its own extensive bicycle path system and support programs.

Many remaining high-wheelers were collected during scrap metal drives during the Great War of 1914–18, making the few remaining machines valuable and highly desired collectibles today, as well as nostalgic reminders of bicycling’s Golden Age.

Shine On


To learn more about the history of bicycles, visit the Bicycle Hall of Fame in Davis, California. Follow the link below:

US Bicycling Hall of Fame