Friday, January 6, 2017
Lighting Up the New Year
For the past number of years we have celebrated New Year’s Eve with a trip to see the Rose Bowl Parade floats as they lined up waiting for the morning. But this year because New Year’s fell on a Sunday, the parade was moved to the January 2.
It just isn’t the same going there late night on New Year’s Day, so we did something different. New Year’s Eve was a stay at home night with my family. We had sushi, left over birthday cake for my newborn grandson and watched Mariah Carey flub up.
New Year’s Day night, we did our replacement for seeing the floats. Instead we went to the Enchanted Forest at the Descano Gardens. The journey to get there was part of the adventure. The freeway we took went the San Gabriel mountains and the Verdugo Hills. While they are called hills, the Verdugos are really mountains. On either side of the roadway it the moutains were dark and empty.
Once off the freeway we seemed back in civilization and passed some stores and houses before turning into the entrance. We had tickets for nine p.m. Even before we got inside, the atmosphere was happy as we passed the people on their way out from earlier viewings. There was something mysterious and exciting about being there at night. The gift shop was busy and we headed to the entrance.
And then the real magic began. A marked path with people directing the way with flashlights led through the installations. There was a field of flowers made of light that changed colors, a lake with mist infused with colored light and a mini redwood forest with giant ferns almost lost in a colorful fog. There were trees surrounded with lights that when touched gave off haunting tones. In an open area there were circles of lights to be danced on, causing them alter their hue. We passed a grove of trees that seemed to be buzzing with lights. We buzzed with the lights too as the projection from the laser touched our jackets. A group of trees appeared painted colors, but it was all just lights.
An Asian garden had been turned into a symbol of good fortune with brilliant red lanterns hanging from trees and reflected in the small river than ran under a curved bridge.
Tucked among the lighted stops there were placers to get hot cider and snacks which somehow added to the surreal feeling of the event.
The ride home continued the feeling of being off in some storybook land. As we reached the end of the darkness on the freeway, ahead the tall buildings of downtown L.A. popped into view. Then all the lights of the San Fernando Valley were revealed. It seemed like we were flying in on the back of a fairy as the road went lower and lower. Then it was home and a nice cup of black currant flavored tea. What a way to start the new year.