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Guest writer: Kelly Anderson

October 13, 2010

I met Kelly on a creative writing hike a while back at the James Dilley Preserve (part of the Laguna Coast Wilderness,  along Laguna Canyon Road).

We have kept in touch via other hikes and email, and I’ve enjoyed reading Kelly’s notes that vividly record her nature wanderings in the “wild places” right outside her workplace in Irvine.

This has been an important insight for me over the last few years: nature is nearer than we think, and there is much to notice and appreciate right where we are (wherever that might be–even a corporate office park).

Here’s a recent piece that Kelly gave me permission to share. It speaks to the wilder part of me that begins to fret when locked too long “inside the corporate cage.”

Friday, October 8, 2010

10:23 a.m.

Academy Way & California

Irvine, CA

71 degrees and fair

This morning I allow myself a ten-minute stroll around the corporate parking lot. During the first 100 yards, my head is full of business tasks and imagined conversations. But when I step into the shade of the north-facing trees, the “corporate takeover” of my brain is broken and my eyes shift from inside to outside.

I begin to hear the chip-chip of gnatcatchers. I begin to see tiger-chested sparrows skipping through the trees. For a moment I choose to stand in the shade, eyes closed, listening. I can hear falling leaves strike the pavement…the swish of traffic on the 405…and the calls of five different birds.

In another moment, I feel the chilly fall air seeping into my skin. It’s a deep-down delight after many days of oppressive heat. I want to stand in that moment forever.

But my calendar has such a tight hold on me that I break the spell and walk onward. On my way back into the building, I’m rewarded with the sight of a towhee running along the trail, tail pointing straight up…so comically awkward. I’m so childishly amused that I wish I could stop and just give that moment a hug.

Inside the building lobby, I notice huge photos of beautiful fall landscapes and I realize that we decorate our corporate cages with where we really want to be—lost in the awe of creation.

By Kelly Anderson


Kelly’s piece reminded me of a photo:

. . .  a local “fall landscape” : Santiago Creek in Irvine Park . . .

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