A single candle-light on Normal avenue following another fatal shooting in East Hollywood, the fifth in the area this year

Today, Put Your Sunscreen On And Get Ready for Another Walk, Los Angeles

(Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 83)

During a time of so much change, one is not unreasonable to ask themselves: what can I change? There is much work to do at home. Many lines to dial up, different items lying around needing to be stored in better places, handfuls of books to finish reading, and more.

But even when we see each of these tasks through, almost at the same time we close the cover on one set of interests, ideas, and responsibilities, we acquire new ones. Before we know it, we find ourselves swept by another cycle of work, traffic, and the need to slow down before it’s too late again.

Maybe that’s the single reason why death is so inconceivable: life as it moves seems like it can never be complete, even if sometimes it feels like it’s just a breath away from closing the covers on us for good.

In my own life, I believe I’ve walked through the same streets that too many young people have not had enough time to see as more than just more concrete they’re confined to.

I believe I owe it to each of them, and so many more lives that have come and gone, to continue putting together the pieces for serious visions of a better Los Angeles, one step and one breath at a time.

Here is to continue working for it, but first, to walk some more for it. The light is calling, Los Angeles.

J.T.

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Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 63

Today I’d like to encourage readers to take a break from their phones, and to take a respite from the news, in order to devote some time to their own personal well-being.

For myself, that means walking, as far as I can go, to enjoy the fresh Spring air and the violet blue jacaranda leaves all across Los Angeles.

For you, if it feels like there might not be anywhere in particular to go, you can give yourself a random task that requires you to step outside.

This Tuesday morning, for example, I took some old black & white film rolls to nearby D & J Digital Imaging, which sits just a couple of blocks away from home, and which opened its doors again just the day before.

When I got to the store, however, Mr. D & J explained to me that his shop only develops color film, not black & white, and that my best bet from there would be the Freestyle Photoshop on Sunset boulevard, a little over a mile out. I thought then that maybe I could walk the few blocks back home to get the car and then hightail it onto Sunset, but quickly decided against it. I was already outside, and all I needed to do was keep heading west. I knew exactly which intersections I needed to cross to get to the Freestyle shop.

What I didn’t know was whether Freestyle would be open, but I figured that if Mr. D & J was reopening his doors, then surely his counterparts were also getting back in the motions as well.

Moreover, even if the shop wasn’t open, I’d enjoy some time apart from my desk and away from my phone’s screen. And while I had a familiar intersection in mind to get to my destination, at the last minute I decided to take a slightly different route, crisscrossing through a street I’d definitely driven past before, but which I’d never actually walked through. What struck me then most of all were the luminescent trees hanging over the block, dividing the light from above into what seemed like fractals over the nestle of single-story homes and apartment buildings along.

Then, along one of the homes, outside, a sparrow arrived as I walked past to dip its beak into a water-bowl set up for it. The bird seemed to celebrate the whole of the environment each time it raised its wet beak, only to dip it in again for another dab of freshness. Even if I might have walked a thousand blocks just like it before then, it felt like I had never seen a street quite like it.

When I got to Freestyle, it was open after all, though with the usual new stipulations as everywhere else. The attendant also informed me that while they were still accepting film, there was also a new process: before dropping my film into the bins set up outside for them, I needed to go online to set up the appointment and fill out a form. Then I needed to print out the form and drop it off with my film for a turn-around of about seven business days. Although my old film would have to wait a little longer then, I told the attendant it’d be just fine; I’d make another task of it. It was time for lunch then. My walk could continue, and Thai food it was.

J.T.

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The downtown Skyline appears behind a fence separating the 101 freeway from Echo Park

Pandemic in Los Angeles: Day 48

Our city lives inside of us. Keep breathing, Los Angeles.

J.T.

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