December 25, Hollywood. Thick morning fog melted away by ten o'clock, leaving a hazy, warm sky. The trade-off for a window seat on the ocean-side of the bus is a guaranteed stream of sunshine. So this is Christmas morning, 2005, in the company of disparate strangers all with unknown destinations, unknown stories. The familiar California viewed through the window, hills and peaks rounded and jagged, covered with indigenous vegetation as opposed to the cities with non-native landscaping and ever more construction pushing the boundaries of urbanization.
For some years now, I've made a tradition of playing the greatest hits of the Fifth Dimension when crossing over the Bay Bridge into San Francisco or passing the San Mateo-San Francisco county line by Candlestick Park (of which now only the ghost remains) that harkens back to my fondest memories of my family's earliest days in California.