Saturday, January 31, 2015
I went outside this morning. The foothills all the way from La Crescenta to Sierra Madre, top to bottom, were draped with a black cloth. Remarkably, this massive project had required just four men, two dogs, and one night.
I interviewed one of the men. Tall and blond, he didn't seem the least bit tired, just very hungry. I gave him half of my salmon sandwich.
Me: Did the state pay for this? Isn't it terribly expensive?
He: We're protecting the hills. A forest fire is more expensive.
Me: How were you able to cover the entire range?
He: A helicopter delivered the material. Then we used a technique called the lunar maneuver. Basically, you're prone on the ground and ironing and stretching the cloth with your body.
Me: What about the dogs? What's their technique?
He: The same. They're bred for it.
I drove into Pasadena to see the cloth-covered hills from a distance, from the vantage point of a soccer field. I turned to the nice woman standing next to me and said, "You're smiling. It's amazing, right? Not sure what it means -- maybe an art installation."
And she said, "No, I'm smiling because we're winning."
But I was busy composing my article. I'd title it Shadowland, and the first line would begin -- "While you were sleeping..."
I'm reading this book about Neuropsychology, and there's a chapter on RL Stevenson. Stevenson believed his dreams were the result of the Little People who visited him at night and put on a show. In fact, he attributed 90% of Jekyll and Hyde to the Little People. He only had to intervene twice: The first time to train the Little People to work with chapters or scenes -- continue the same show night after night. And the second time when it came to the ending because, "The Little People have no conscience."