Thursday, March 3, 2011
The Great Valley
On I-5 in California's Great Valley.....i rode this road so many many times as a girl. From the San Francisco Bay Area down to Fresno in order to visit family in the town i was born in, the place where my parents both grew up.
The valley is so flat that when the air is clear you can easily see the Coast Range on one side, and the snow of the peaks of the Sierra Nevada range on the other. On my childhood drives, my parents would pack everything the night before we left, then wake us at 5:00am and bundle us into the van, in order to avoid heat and traffic. We'd stop at a little shop for donuts and hot chocolate before we hit the highway - a very rare treat which got us looking forward to the trip.
As a very visual and very imaginative child, i'd spend the trip looking down aisle after aisle of orchards. And the shock i felt when i spotted a tumbleweed - it meant the desert, another ecosystem, another planet, full of cacti and jackrabbits, was that close!
Farmhouses, barns, trains, grain elevators.....it was all so different from the suburban and urban haunts of my youth. Yet it was this landscape from which i'd sprung.