Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Beachwood Canyon: Living in the Hills

It is nice to be living in the 90068 - Beachwood Canyon - or the "Hollywood Hills" as it is more often known. When most people think of the Hollywood Hills, they think Lindsay Lohan, crazy parties, limos, Bentleys, and movie stars. No doubt, all of those things are alive and well up here somewhere - but what most people don't think about are all of the more "normal" folks, the nature, and the spirituality that exist here.

Granted, the normal folks can most likely only fit that title if compared to other Hollywoodites but they are here, nonetheless, living in apartments, working jobs, and many of them pursuing dreams. Some have already seized those dreams, while others have given them up long ago. It is a special part of this otherwise big and bustling city, set up against the hills and right in the heart of them. These apartment livers exist sometimes side by side with million dollar+ home owners as writers, actors, directors, and even ... NON INDUSTRY PEOPLE (gasp!) pass each other gracefully on the sidewalk, usually with a leashed dog or two. They shop at the Beachwood Market up the street away from the masses - or down the street at Gelsons. They hang around at the Bourgeois Pig Coffee Shop and at Birds, often mingling with celebrities who feel at ease here. They frequent the famous Upright Citizens Brigade and La Poubelle. I see people hiking up the street in the canyon, biking, running, and dog walking - did I already mention that? Yes - lots of dog walking!

It is after all, a canyon. The street that I live on is the main drag up, up, up to the old Hollywood Sign, a huge attraction for visitors as evidenced by the many topless tour buses that drive up the street on weekends. We may have history and we may have movie stars but we also have trees - the beautiful scent of the hills, canyon air, quiet stillness as you climb the hill, gorgeous views, and coyotes. Like many hillside neighborhoods in Southern California, we have placed ourselves in the territory of some wild animals - and they do not fail to remind us of their presence. Signs hang on telephone poles advising hours to keep your pets inside due to recent attacks and these warnings are taken very seriously in these parts. I have walked the streets around here quite a bit in the last few weeks and have not seen the beasts but I know they're there. They are part of the landscape and a reminder of the sacredness of the area.

With churches and places of meditation speckled all around the hills, there is a sense of calm among the people of Beachwood Canyon. The angst and attitude of the big city seems to be dropped - for the most part - at the bottom of the street. Is this because of some increased spirituality or is it simply less stressful to be out of the gridlock of Hollywood proper? I don't know for sure but I have spoken to some people here and I have my own opinion that in the Hollywood Hills, a lot of people find a certain centering, a peace, and perhaps that is why the holy places have been erected.

These are just some first impressions of this place. It has been a great experience so far and I have barely unpacked my boxes. It was these traits that made me want to move here in the first place and even if I move out of this particular studio apartment in the future, I would like to move just a little farther up the hill.


tram said...

thanks for this post! i myself would like to move out there some day, and it's good to know that the area is not only populated by the obscenely rich and famous.

do you know any good reading material on the area ? fiction or non are fine.

enjoy your time in the canyons!