Left and Middle: photographs taken by William Brice in the 1940’s.
Right: the Santa Monica Mountains as they are today.


Born and raised in the city, how is it that I feel such joy that the turned soil is rich and soft under my feet and that the dry grass is toppled, strewn in a marvelous disarray. My heart beats faster and I am exhilarated by the slightest shimmering of the silver green leaves as a gentle gust caresses them. There is the new and spindly bush seeded by the side of the concrete road. Why, in how and where I grew, do I feel I belong to that little patch of green? It is when I am high in the dry clean air watching the tenacity of the growth on the eroded hillside that I am at home, untroubled, excited and alive. For I become a part of the great tumbling of the land waves as they fall to the sea and I am filled with sensations of continuity. I breathe the air, feel the breeze and correspond with the motion of all around me. If I am very quiet, I can hear the crackle of the motion of the bug, the ant, and at the same time travel silently with the highest cloud. Somehow, the vast blue expanse becomes something of which I am made, as is the soil and rock and the sea and the wonder of my child’s eyes deep a part of me. There are so many other forms and movements thrilling to me, the sounds of thighs and shoulders, breasts, the articulation of hands and stance of legs and back. Soft billow—the pillow of warm flesh of the stomach, of the buttocks, of the pear and the peach—the clear water of the mouth and of the apple.