|Jasper loves Mommy!|
It was one of those curl-up-with-a-blanket-and-a-good-book afternoons and soon morphed into a curl-up-under-the-blanket-and-take-a-nap afternoon. After a busy week at work, I probably needed it!
After dinner, we watched the film Inception on DVD. All too often, when I pop a movie in the player, I end up simultaneously reading or using the computer, but I'd heard that this movie required full attention, so I mentally cleared the decks. I'm glad I did, because this was truly a movie that engages the mind. In fact, when it was over, I felt a measure of mental exhaustion, like I'd just finished reading a really good, challenging book. Just like books, movies come in all degrees of complexity and merit. There are the guilty pleasures you watch just for entertainment or laughs, the lush historical pieces you can lose yourself in, the beloved classics you can watch again and again and again, and the "literary" works that take some effort but leave you feeling like you really learned or experienced something important.
In today's Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (our local newspaper) there was a copy of Inland Living magazine, which contained an article about the Madonna of the Trail monument in Upland. Now, I've seen this statue all my life and I never knew that there is a rattlesnake hidden in the grass at her feet, or that she is made of algonite (a poured mixture of crushed rocks). I did know that she is one of a series of identical monuments placed along the National Old Trails Road highway back in the 1920's. Ours is the westernmost statue; the other end of the chain of Madonnas is in Bethesda, Maryland. And just like Lady Madonna in the song, she has children at her feet (and, apparently, a rattlesnake!).
I love learning about history, local or otherwise, but it's always more interesting when I've been to the location I'm learning about. Right now, I'm reading A State of Change: Forgotten Landscapes of California by Laura Cunningham (published by one of my favorite publishers, Heyday Books) and my favorite images in the book are the re-creations of landscapes I've been to as they might have been hundreds or thousands of years ago. What I wouldn't give to be able to actually see the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley when it was one vast marsh/lake complex with the snowcapped Sierra Nevada clearly visible though the (non-polluted) air! Or to see a grizzly bear roaming the grassy hills above the San Fernando Valley. From a safe distance, of course!