Monday, November 28, 2011

Temperate Temperament

The Thanksgiving trip that Michael and I took to Los Angeles was the first trip to a sunny place that we took together (and we've been together for almost 28 years). In addition to being a palm-tree-filled botanical wonder (albeit mostly artificial), Los Angeles is a vegan's delight. Every restaurant we visited (chosen, of course, by our daughter) had vegan options, and most of the restaurants that we visited had many. Some were primarily vegan. This is not something I experience often.

One restaurant in an area called "Larchmont," where the Spanish Colonial architecture of "Miracle Mile" (where we were staying with our daughter and her boyfriend) gives way to "New England Village," offered free coffee drinks to vegans who filled out a post-meal questionnaire. I also wrote down everything I could see about the Green Enchiladas I had eaten in my little red book, and I'm making them for dinner tonight. I learned from this video that the free coffee I had was roasted on site:

This vegan paradise, covered by a clear sky and beautiful weather, is set in a city teeming with the kind of ethnic diversity we lack in the only-slightly-expanded monoculture of East Central Illinois. And where we have miles upon miles of empty ('cause the growing season is over) corn and bean fields, Los Angeles has miles upon miles, upon miles of businesses--some trendy, some steadfast, and some downright dowdy. We have two-lane and four-lane roads, and Los Angeles has six lanes of traffic on its freeways. Our daughter navigates them like a native. I don't know if I could.

Returning to the cold and grey rain of Illinois was depressing, but returning has also been a lesson in temperament for me. I returned to my year-long project of writing seasonal violin duets, and feel new-found gusto for the violin duets I'm writing about Fall. I call the set "Autumn Leaves," and I seem to have a more distinct sense of what is and what is not Autumn after returning to it from the endless summer of Los Angeles.

[I noticed that the Sweet Gum is one of the few deciduous trees growing in Los Angeles. Now I understand the confusion I noticed with one of the Sweet Gums in our neighborhood I noticed last week. Once they lose their leaves, they are ready to grow new ones. Perhaps they don't really need the long winter to be dormant. The confused tree now has brown leaf tips, and now it looks like any other Gum preparing for its long winter's nap.]

I keep telling myself that if I were to move to LA, I wouldn't get much done in the way of creative work and in the way of practicing, I could never make enough money to support what would surely become a vegan restaurant habit, I would have a really difficult time finding playing work, and even a more difficult time trying to find a place for myself in the creative musical community.

I have a new wool coat, an insulated hat, and some really warm boots in the closet. I feel adequately prepared for the cold weather that is beginning to make its home in the Midwest. I am very grateful that I have the ability to entertain myself with gastronomical and musical projects, and I know that the sun will come out one of these days. Even if it is shining on ice. Perhaps I really do have a temperate temperament.


Michael Leddy said...

Thank you for finding that clip — it was like visiting again. Waah! Waah! I want! I want!

Anonymous said...

Rachmaninoff, Schoenberg and Stravinsky called southern California home. How about all those film composers over the decades, many of them who fled National Socialism in Germany? Ira Gershwin settled there too. Heifetz, Piatagorsky, and... One could go on but...

Nothing wrong with your lovely and different climate, because home remains where the heart is. Not where the restaurant is....

Elaine Fine said...

That's right.