Why California is So Sad

californiaAlways in the mountain time zone there is the feeling of being near to the Pacific. But there is two hundred miles until you get to the state before the state that has coast, then another three hundred miles until you can hear the surf. Badlands begin, or its mountains and crazy geological preterition two hundred million years new. A pride runs through my veins, like no where else in the world is it quite like this and I’m a native son.

For lunch yesterday in Albuquerque at Cecilia’s I had some of the spiciest food I’ve ever had. I mean, I’ve had spicier food, but never food as deliciously spicy. I ate all of it, with pleasure, not only to seem manly for being able to accept the challenge. I definitely drank like 48 ounces of water during, but man it was good. I could feel it going down into my stomach five hours later, but I never really regretted it.

Then we went to the Petrified National Forest and saw the painted desert and marvelled at the rocky wood and its many colors. Granny and Matthew ogled it and we were close to taking some but it wouldn’t have been right.

California is eternally sad. It is the end of our great continent. Its sprawling valleys of Joshua trees and eucalyptus and cypress and live oak and pine (it is a place of foreign trees, California. I like to pronounce it with five syllables, enunciating the i at the end) and jagged hills and mountains rising out of fields of shrubby little tumbleweed plants…Its deserts and forests and the inland rural areas and the coast, which is perhaps the richest in sadness and most beautiful of all. The Okies must have felt it as they culminated their journey: a wash of disillusionment and a stun of reality, with a beautiful sunset. The sun is perpetually setting on California.

By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.


  1. I’ve enjoyed reading the blog of your travels. I know what you mean about the “sadness” of CA. There is a feeling that it is the end — not the beginning. And yet, many things “political” have had their beginning there.
    Tell Granny there i a package for her from OPM when she returns home.
    Love to you and the Matt. (How’s his throat??)

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