I Left My Phone at Home

Today my phone died in the middle of a phone call -- I forgot to plug it in last night. I'm not too married to my phone, but it does go pretty much everywhere with me, as most people can relate to. Well, not too much later, adventure called and I didn't want to let my barely-charged phone to keep me from going to a new park with the girls. And so I decided to...gulp...leave it at home.

There are practical reasons for keeping your phone around of course. What if there is an emergency? What if we break down? What if someone else has an emergency and needs to get a hold of me? But you know, society has managed for far, far longer without cell phones than with, so I figured I'd manage.

Driving up the hill to a park that a mom had recommended to me was about as harrowing as a midday adventure gets for our clan (I'm a little sad to write). The views were amazing though, and the park at the top was awesome. It was nestled in the side of a little slope, all on top of a large hill that overlooked the city. The playground was aged, but all over sand, which is always a bonus for me, keeping the kids that much safer when they fall.

I was struck by how quiet it was on top of the hill, except for the roar of the city below. It's funny how a freeway can make the same sound as a rushing river, but it really did and was just as consistent. White noise aside, we had a great time at this place. My first phone inclination, actually, was to take pictures of how cool this park was. My next one was to text a picture to my friend Chris, because we had shot a music video in the same area a couple months prior and I thought this might be a better place, should we shoot again.

Here's one from someone who didn't neglect her phone.
Eventually, I started getting bored, but then I tried to make things interesting, taking control of the play. The girls appreciated it and we made sand pizzas for a while, but then I got bored again (the mature dad I am), and so we went on a "nature walk." In the city, this can mean multiple things, likely paling in comparison to what a true nature walk might entail. This one, however, was pretty cool. On our left was a blue-tinted mountain range. Beyond that, northeast, were snow-capped mountains. Follow the horizon to your right and you run into downtown LA and Dodger Stadium; close enough that I wondered if I could have watched the World Series from here for free. After that is more city, and on a clear day, the ocean.

Despite the view, I wanted to go home because I had to pee, and I was getting tired and hungry. Those are all things my kids are supposed to complain about while I try to take them places, but today they were the ones urging me on. "We didn't finish our walk, Dad!" Ellie said, and so we pressed on, finding a bench that had a more panoramic view. It was just next to a tree that housed the most hummingbirds I had ever seen. Growing up, these birds were rare. In Southern California, they are certainly more plentiful, but I always feel lucky when I see one. Seeing half-a-dozen was spectacular, especially when they perched. Known for being so quick and flighty, I think I've only seen a still hummingbird once or twice in my life. That day I saw it twice -- what a place! But also, another lost photo opportunity...


I've been back a couple times since this first trip.

We walked down the path and up a steep hill that, again, I didn't want to traverse, but the kids plowed the way and made it up with little problem. We found a bathroom past a rare green field, just after a little bouldering and some walking-stick finding. Afterwards, we found another playground (there were three at this park alone, and two more down the hill), and so we continued to adventure. All in all, this place is a winner and has certainly earned a return visit.

As for the phone, I didn't really miss it too much, aside from wanting to take lots of pictures. I'm torn on that -- I always tell my wife that digital media is cheap, and having all these pictures isn't like having dozens of physical photo albums on our shelves. However, my hard drives keep filling, so I'm wondering if I'm taking too many... My grandfather told me once that the best vacation he ever took was the one where he forgot his camera. The pressure of taking the right picture was gone, and he was suddenly free to enjoy each moment for what it was. Today I think I got a glimpse into that world, and though I do wish I had some pictures of the kids and the view to share with my loved ones who don't live here, or my wife who was working, I can't really say it was a bad thing to do. Maybe consider it for your next outing, Reader. Who knows...it could be the best trip you've ever taken!

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