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Ojai Valley

golf & mountains.jpgThe air is perfumed with the scent of jasmine and wild rosemary that grows in bushes taller than your head.  Today, I write this blog entry from The Ojai Valley Inn & Spa in Southern California.  The view out my window is stunning.  Over the bright green golf course, the mountains rise; mottled with rich, hunter green trees.  In the typical Spanish villa style, the terracotta roof tops below accent the stark white walls of the extensive resort.  The atmosphere here is tranquil.  The guests are all on holiday and the joviality of their laughter and movements make it feel as if I have stepped out of my life into an entirely different world.

I will never get over the fact that I can start my day by stepping out into a foot of snow, get on an airplane and fly for an hour only to end up in a tropical paradise.  It’s disorienting in the best way.  The experiences available on this world are like a buffet, boasting a multitude of flavors.  The burnt orange colored Spanish tiles beneath my feet have been warmed in the western sun.  The feel of them warms my soul, not just my skin.  There is a certain kind of magic to a place where edible plants grow all year long.  On the drive here from the LAX airport, we must have passed over twenty stands that were selling their fresh hand picked strawberries.  And here, I sit above bushes full of brilliant ripe kumquats.  Their central sweetness perfectly accented by the bitterness of their citrus rinds.  I’ve eaten three already.

strawberries.jpgTonight, I’m driving into Santa Barbara to meet up with a collection of colleagues and friends at the Sojourner restaurant.  My closest long-term friend, Lauren is even flying in from Colorado.  I am excited to practice being a social butterfly and to taste the culinary artistry that California has to offer.  Tomorrow, I will commune with the ocean.

Life is the best of things and the worst of things.  One minute, you can be drowning in the depths of misery and the next minute, life spits you out into the sunshine of the untouchable heights of joy and promise.  You never ever know what is around the corner.  This, I can tell you personally given my history, is a better reason than any to never give up on life, no matter how harshly it has treated you thus far.


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