This is home. When I lived on the East Coast, I remember seeing a car commercial where the car zipped by hills and I immediately said, “I know where that is!” While I don’t think I knew the precise location, I knew it was home.
Northern California is rolling golden hills. It’s alive and smells sweet, and gleams bright in the late afternoon as the sun sets. The smell brings me back to summer day camp where we hiked around in the brush and took breaks in the shade under oak trees.
A few years ago, someone I know who then was new to Silicon Valley would crinkle her nose and complain that everything was brown, while the (economically depressed) state she was from was always green. Other states are more green for sure, but to call the hills brown was an insult. They’re golden, dammit! To see these hills as dead and brown is missing the beauty that surrounds us. The hills may look barren to the naive, but they are full of life. Quail scurry out, deer lollop around, birds are everywhere, and frighteningly snakes may appear when you least expect. The hills are full of life and they are gorgeous.
This is the Golden State.
This photo was taken on Holman Ranch during a rare overcast day in the Carmel Valley.