miss the wide open spaces of Iowa. The cornfields tall in
July. The hot black pavement that runs through them. I always
drove a lot in Iowa. Not because I had to, but because it
was so relaxing. After a stressful event in my life I would
retreat to the solitude of gravel backroads and the greenery
don't find that kind of open greenery in California. The
San Joaquin Valley is fertile, full of lush tropical fruits
and nuts, but it doesn't have the stamina or substance of
soybean and corn fields. And the San Joaquin Valley is flat,
in the true sense. No rolling hills here. Highway 5 is a
four-lane superroad running from Sacramento to Los Angeles.
I miss my two-lane wonder that kept me company during my
drives between Ottumwa and Waterloo. I miss the rolling
hills of eastern Iowa.
where can one escape into nature from that ultra-savvy Paris
of the Americas, the San Francisco Bay Area? When I feel
the teeth of consumerism, image, or business snapping too
close to my throat I run away to Tilden Park.
is nestled in the Berkeley hills and offers many natural
diversions: swimming, hiking, climbing hills, and picnicking.
While the eucalyptus trees sway in the wind on top, Wildcat
Creek trickles below, etching a channel through the hills.
Moss grows on the twisted mountain trees. The park looks
like something out of a fairy tale with its shady paths
and sunny mountain meadows. Tilden is not topographically
like Iowa in the least, but it does keep sacred a little
part of what the Midwest is made of: earth. And that earth
power is very rejuvenating to a city dweller with earth
in her soul.