Maria, Miranda, and I are in our fourth day in Los Angeles with Greg, Mary, Rachel, and Richard and Julie. It has been a great trip so far even though the journey out here was pretty difficult. After one cancelled flight and numerous delays we didn't arrive in L.A. until about 2:30AM Pacific time Tuesday morning. Miranda did extremely well considering the circumstances, sleeping the entire duration of the flight from Chicago to Los Angeles in my arms (the most amazing feeling despite the fatigue)! Unfortunately, she's caught Maria's cold and has developed a bit of a cough. But she's feeling better today and will hopefully be back to her regular form very soon.(Continue reading....)
In terms of current events, Rachel took a tour of the USC campus today and really enjoyed it. And Greg and I enjoyed a great walk down Venice Beach Blvd. yesterday with Miranda. It is always nice to get a good dose of the street performers and artists. I find the energy and collective creativity of places like this really inspiring. And though there might be issues that I'm ignorant about, the local "authorities" seem to be pretty cool to the homeless folks hanging out and sleeping up and down the boulevard (definitely better and more relaxed than some of the other cities where I've spent time). In regard to the local art, there was one mural in particular that I thought was really cool. It is by a guy named R. Cronk, and he has several substantial murals in the Venice Beach locale. The one that really grabbed my attention was entitled "Homage to Starry Night," and as the name indicates was the artists homage to the famous Vincent Van Gogh painting. It was really tremendous to sit in front of such a huge and brilliant rendition of this moving work of art. And one of the things that really moved Greg and I was the fact that it was painted over fifteen years ago and yet has apparently not suffered any instance of graffiti, damage, or defacement. The painting looks so fresh and vibrant that you'd think it was painted no more than one or two years ago. It has been preserved wonderfully, almost as if the beauty and spirit of the mural has somehow made the space that it occupies sacred and hallowed. The mural made me think about how the experience of beauty moves us into a deeper awareness of the sacred nature of life, and how it thereby has the power to collectively move us toward a deeper respect and appreciation for life. The pictures do not fully do it justice, but I hope that they communicate some of the feel of standing in front of this work of art.