Calif-uglification Campaign

The pleasantest, homiest, intrinsically richest places are the first to be settled, the first to get eaten by cities and sprawl, and in our recent Calif-uglification campaign, the first to be made hideous.

I am thinking about Scotts Valley Drive, following the once-ideal little valley of Carbonero Creek with its huge old valley oaks, its abundant springs, its flowery meadows and rich alluvial soil, and absolutely perfect climate, just far enough back from the coast to be warm enough to grow all things to perfection and yet cool enough to be pleasant rather than oppressive in summer.

And now just one more car-habitat, with huge ugly office complexes and huge ugly businesses and parking lots and shopping centers and aerial clutter and the visual chaotic rather than restful hodgepodge of “landscaping” in the narrow cracks in between. The few surviving old veteran valley oaks and other trees all hemmed in with paving and walls and clutter, their long, sheltering branches stubbed back, their future a contradiction in terms. The largest of them all has its great, five-ft.-thick trunk now countersunk about four feet deep into a kind of expensively engineered and decorated well in the middle of a parking lot. It is surprising that almost half the tree is still clinging to life after several years trying to live in its costly hole.

[Should expand the Scotts Valley description and use it to illustrate a slightly different point.]

[Eventually get back to the increasing rarity of truly liveable, pleasant places in California, to the degree that most people now have no idea of how beautiful a proper home place can be.]