Secrets of the L.A. River

The first time I ever consciously laid eyes on the L.A. river or rather, lack of- was in Terminator 2, “Judgement day”, aeons ago, when terminator Arnold and John Connor were being chased by the evil cyborg.  I must have seen the river making ephemeral appearances here and there in movies before, but this time something stuck.  It was all this massive concrete, domineering over a completely dried up riverbed, void of any nature whatsoever.

Little did I know then, that the L.A. river is actually somewhat of a bird sanctuary further west and home to a small tribe of homeless people making the river their home.  The land jetting out into the water is minuscule, yet enough to form tiny little islands virtually hidden from people passing by.

On impulse I once ventured  into this area, climbing over fallen palm trees, making my way through tall grass and debris left behind from previous storms.  Someone had hung a punch bag from a tree, there were several pots and pans, and other traces of someone’s belongings.  A little uneasy, I left.

None of this was there anymore next time I came, just a fresh crop of plastic bags produced by the last flood.  Oily puddles and neon green liquids meandering about, glittering in the sun- a grossly beautiful spectacle. Foliage so dense, it muffled all city noise.

I had come to play. I randomly placed things into crevices, arranged and draped them, as if they had always been there, transforming the place into something new and sacred.

That day I came home with a nasty spider bite and covered from head to toe in sticky seeds from crawling around the swampy river bank, feeling elated and happy.

Yeah, the river and I are tight!



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