Monday, May 11, 2009

Gone, baby, gone

Patricia Smiley here…

What place would you miss the most if it was no longer there? This question was recently posed by one of the nightly news shows. I supposed it was a wake-up call meant to personalize the destruction of the earth caused by our poor stewardship of the environment. The query provoked some thought.

I love Los Angeles. Any city that offers a designer cupcake contest and a festival of books that attracts 150,000 people in a single weekend is my kind of place. However, Los Angeles is currently suffering through another drought. To conserve water I replaced my lawn with drought-resistant plants. However, my newly planted flora is at risk because the city just announced that everyone must cut water usage by 15%. More cuts will undoubtedly be needed in the future. If my beautiful new garden has to be sacrificed, I will miss it.

I’m an island girl at heart. I feel at peace with swaying palm trees and turquoise water lapping against the shore. Hawaii. Tahiti. Martinique. If I never felt warm sand sifting through my toes again, I’d be distraught.

Santa Catalina is one of my favorite islands. It is a magical place I never tire of visiting. There are no Holiday Inns, Burger Kings, or Starbucks on the island. In fact, thanks to the Wrigley family who gave 85% of the land to a conservancy charged with protecting it from development, the place is relatively unchanged since the 1920s when movie stars’ yachts anchored in the harbor and the Chicago Cubs trained in the fields below Mt. Ada. It’s difficult for me to fathom a world without Catalina.

I know people who are passionate about Manhattan, London, or Booth Bay. Their place is part of their DNA and they would feel aimless and adrift if it disappeared. Others treasure a clear cold brook cascading down a mountainside and the smell of pine needles on a crisp fall day. Without the mountain lakes and forests of the Cascades, the Andes, or the Alps, their world would be diminished.

What place is so near and dear to your heart and soul that you would miss it if it were no longer there?

Happy Monday!

P.S. Paul Levine won’t be posting on Tuesday. Last week he told you he would be nursing his lumbago in Tobago but the truth is he flew to Miami to spend Mother’s Day with his mum. Nice try, Paulie, but we know what a softy you are.


  1. What a lovely post, Patty.

    I would miss Spring and Fall, my favorite seasons, and I would miss primroses and bluebells, those very English woodland flowers that bloom in spring. I would miss Mount Tamalpais, in Marin County, which I love, and I too would miss islands, because I love islands (heck, I come from one!). I should add that I would miss seeing the sea - I could never live way inland. I miss rain already - as you said, we're in this drought. I'm always happy to see rain. And I would miss a world without so many animals, but particularly horses - I would miss my horses and other animal companions very much. I could go on and on ...

    Thank you, Patty. Good reminder for a foggy Monday.

  2. Yes, Our J, I would miss the sea most of all. I was raised in a high desert area, so I find water therapeutic.

  3. Paris. No question. Specifically, the Left Bank - and even more specifically, the Rodin Museum, with the Luxembourg Gardens and the Ile St. Louis a tie for second. I get happy just thinking about it.

  4. Oh Rae, I love Paris, too. I once wandered into an eyeglass shop to buy a pair of Vuarnets and had an interesting chat with the proprietor who told me stories of selling monocles to German officers in WWII. I also strolled unannounced into a hair salon and got the best hair cut EVER.

  5. James O. Born5/11/2009 10:11 AM

    Good post.

    Did you happen to see Life After People last night? It showed LA if no one is around to tend to it. Turns back to desert.


  6. I missed that program but it sounds interesting. And this subject is timely since your science fiction police thriller is due out in TWO WEEKS. A starred review from Publishers Weekly. Not bad, my friend.

  7. I'd be sorely diminished to lose New Mexico, any of the Pacific coastline, the huge forests that still lurk along said coastline, and, in a complete turn around, London. I felt right at home on those diesel-fumed streets. It's a constant tug at my heart. Of course if I explored more of the British Isles, I bet I'd expand to include all of them, so let's just go ahead and add 'em anyway.

    Honestly, though, any place's demise should diminish all of us, with the exception of those places that have been created specifically to dehumanize -- secret prison camps, ghettos, things like that. Those we should be scrambling to eradicate, in my opinion.

  8. Well said, Fran. London is a great place, especially since they speak our language...well, almost :O)

  9. has it ever occured to you, patty, that you might be speaking their language???

    anyway, london, berlin and paris came to mind - in that order. not to forget san fransisco and sausalito.

    but then i thought some more about it and what i would miss more is MY river - the rhine in front of my house and the vinyardhills behind.

    stonehenge is a place i would miss very much. it has survived over 5000 years and is still full of mysteries. it has something so majestic about it. i make a point of visiting every time i am in england. but nowadays with a fence around it, it's not quite what it used to be when i first saw it in 1970.

    regents park in london used to be my "back garden" for a few years when i worked at foyles on charing cross road. it has everything: trees, a lake, a bandstand, a zoo and zillions of memories. i can't imagine london without it.

    those are the places i would miss, but most of all i would miss to be right here where i am with my loved ones.


  10. Patty, it would be wrong (not to mention painfully ironic) for you to lose your still-tender, drought-tolerant garden to water restrictions.

    I would suggest going without a shower or two. Your true friends will sympathize.

    And that's what I think about that.


  11. Sybille, yes we do speak a twisted version of the English language tee hee). I've never been to Stonehenge but have always wanted to go. How disappointing there is a fence around it now. Takes about a bit of magic methinks.

    Mims, I've shortened my showers but going without? Hmmm. Will have to mull that one over.

  12. I would miss wherever you are, Patty. 'nuff said.

  13. susan williamson5/12/2009 9:29 AM

    I would miss Daytona Beach. It is far enough away that it feels to me that I am in another world. When I have the beach and books there is no other place that I can lose myself so completely. I love the sand and the ocean. I love waking up in the mornings and seeing the vast ocean. I only get to go there for three weeks out of a year, but it is the best three weeks...

  14. I would miss Cornelia Read......oh, wait a minute, it seems like THIS world has been without her for some time now.
    Whatup with dat?


    PS: I join Jeff and the Spirit of Groupie in the fact that we'd miss, and I'm paraphrasing here, the world without Go-Lo.

  15. I would miss Boothbay Harbor, Maine. The sound of the bay, the smell of the ocean, the seaweed listing on the shore, and most of all the fresh lobster eaten on the deck over the bay.

  16. Susan, I've never been to Daytona Beach but you make me want to go.

    Jon, now that Ms. C has turned in her latest tome, we should clamor for her return.

    Mary Ellen, I love Booth Bay, too. It's impossible quaint.

  17. I would miss Bark, Ark; Spa, Fla, and Intercourse, PA.

  18. Lumbago must have settled in your funny bone.