The change up the road is startling. The street in front of our Redlands home runs north, over an highway, temporarily as a dirt road, until it ends at Route 38. If one turns right and heads towards the east end of the valley, twelve miles takes you into a world totally unlike the one you left.
Wabash and Route 38 meet in the small town of Mentone. Mentone lies at the east end of the Los Angeles basin. It’s the last town before the highway heads up into the San Bernardino mountains. The intersection rests a thousand feet above sea level. Twelve miles later, after a series of turns crossing a bolder shaped river several times one reached the end of a road, Forest Falls. One always knows the end; there is no pavement beyond this small town nestled up against the mountain side.
Yesterday we were buried under a marine layer, the gray, cool, borderline wet day reminded us of our former home, southeast England. If I had found moss in the driveway I would have been convinced I was at Santana in Ellesmere Place.
As I arrived in Forest Falls I found myself emerging from the clouds in a very different place. While the clouds licked the corners of the home we were in, everyone was bathed in bright sun, blue skies, and crisp shadows. The contrast was stark, almost terrifying. How could we be in a place so different yet so close? When did things change? Were we warned; did we know things were this different?
I found myself reflecting on good and evil. Life often seems like an unending parade of grays. When extreme good or evil show, the blurring disappear. In one situation it terrified those confronted. “The sinners in Zion are rightly terrified; the godless are at their wit's end: ‘Who among us can survive this firestorm? Who of us can get out of this purge with our lives?’ The answer's simple: Live right, speak the truth, despise exploitation, refuse bribes, reject violence, avoid evil amusements.” (Isaiah 33.14, 15)
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