I had always felt creepy around Bronson Canyon, having lived for years just underneath the Hollywood sign. I walked Ralph up that trail, past the batman tunnel, up by where the horseshoe prints would end. it was too quiet up there, too silent and calm to be safe. The wooded areas of my past forever bring forth tragedy and chaos. You can’t believe what folks are capable of sometimes, what they do in the dark cold night of the soul.

Even with the biggest dog on the end of a leash I still felt alone and unsure, and  though I rarely saw another person up there, it was as if you were being constantly watched, as if the hills themselves had eyes. I read too many crime novels and watch too much forensics on tv to ever feel like I can let my guard down. it always happens when you think the coast is clear. It always happens when you don’t think it will. People always feel safe until they are suddenly not.

I hadn’t heard of bodies being dumped in the canyon before, but just down the street near the Mayfair market was where the hillside strangler had struck in the 70s, when I first started to equate los angeles with murder, and the earliest thought that I remember having about not being able to trust adults, that adults could harm you and hurt you and even kill you. This was the scariest realization, and a rude awakening in every way – that moment when you come to know the world as dangerous.

That trail felt bad every time I hiked there, and I only went a few times even though I lived right at the mouth of it. the danger may not have happened yet but it was present. The deeds had not been done but it would only be a matter of time. There were dead snakes lying stick straight like cast off dousing rods or fallen tree branches, rotting in the thin cover of dry grass, skin then organs then bones revealed in slow decay. Stagnating pools of ancient rainwater lay poisonously still and refused to evaporate in the sun. Ralph pulled me bodily to drink from them and I fought him and dug my heels into the dirt and kicked up dunes of dust in my efforts. He almost dragged me right into one of the pools and as I looked closely at the water I had almost fallen into I could see deep black clouds made up of thousands and thousands of tadpoles, swimming tails crowded together in a mass exodus to nowhere.

8 Comments. Add To The Mix…

  1. lovely — if you only knew how those tadpoles would make me sad if i focused on the notion. after all, i recognize the excuse of fear that is used far too often. i know the trashy real estate deals made by stupid productions of arrogant, chauvinist idiots on both sides of the gender spectrum. economic crisis?? one could see those tadpoles turning into frogs leaping from water lily pads or lotus leaves to frolic in a giant pond. alas, there is merely a cloud of spooge like a poor fluffer in pornography as my american boyfriend, since i know much of los angeles and plenty that i love. yet, i have watched for 13 years — a production that could have been more than “use and abuse” but that was the choice that some people made as i schlepped around los angeles waiting for the purported talent that populates that city to manifest and arrive beyond a homophobic painting. but, shitty real estate deals are the supposed excuse for a purported economic crisis, yet, not many consider the cultural intolerance and ignorance that are true problems to this over-dramatized melting pot that is used for advertising but is steeped in a limited exit under the current formula — much like those sad tadpoles who should have moved beyond fear to morph into lovely frogs that are frolicking from pad to pad. have a beautiful and lovely day.

  2. This was a really good entry Margaret! I felt like I was right there with you. So glad that you blog, your mind is a beautiful thing!

  3. Nice bit of writing! I really got a sense of it, like I was right there with you. There is something about the wild woods, I can recall similar places where you had the sense of a presence. I especially remember driving through the back roads of rural Missouri, in the middle of the night with my brothers, when they were coon hunting (meaning raccoons), but we were really just listening to the woods and watching for ‘something’. Once we spotted a huge black dog sitting like a statue in the middle of a field. He never moved. My brother said he was guarding his owner’s grave, if in fact the dog were real at all. Have you ever seen a ghost or had anything uncanny happen, other than what you just wrote?

  4. The hoof prints from 1994-98 could well have been from my beautiful Arabian Stallion, Jack. We would go to the top of the Hollywood sign and roam all over Griffith Park every day for hours, exploring from the Observatory to the Equestrian Center, from the stables on the east side of the L.A. River to the west of the Disney building. I occasionally would ride Jack to Forest Lawn Cemetery, tie him to a post and climb the stairs in the back of the chapel to the organ while still in my chaps, spurs and cowboy hat, then sing 3 songs for a funeral, rush out before the end, so no one would see me and ride back to the stable in Burbank. It was back in the day of pagers. I’d get a page from the Forest Lawn office and call them back — usually it was to sing at a funeral the next day, but sometimes it was that very hour. I’d be out riding already, so I’d just go as I was, in full cowgirl regalia. I moved away from the area in 1998, but the stories I could tell about all the stables, horse people, hiking trails, etc. in Griffith Park. It was wonderful and horrifying….catching a glimpse of Madonna jogging on the trails, a dead man in a gully, a forest fire, using hypnosis to save a woman’s life, school buses full of children rushing up to greet my stunning horse at the Observatory, singing the National Anthem for the 75th Anniversary of the dedication of Griffith Park while sitting atop of my sweet, shining horse. Nearly getting killed myself from 2 unleashed doberman dogs coming after another horse I was riding before I bought Jack. Listening to concerts on horseback above the Hollywood Bowl. Drinking beer with friends while having breakfast at Eats Cafe. A wild 4 years! My life is now reduced to a series of mismanaged clothing disasters!

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