Sunday, December 27, 2009

Quintessential Pasadena

While John and I were walking Christmas day he pointed out to me this quintessential Pasadena view. If it's not quintessentially Pasadena it's at least quintessentially north of the 210 freeway. Click on the photo to enlarge it if you can't make out the towers of the Mt. Wilson Observatory. The Observatory, the mountain, the palm tree and the Spanish tile roof are typical views on the north side of town, not to mention the streetlight silhouette.

There were scientific and historic reasons to protect Mount Wilson during last autumn's Station Fire. For those who don't live here, perhaps knowing the Observatory is part of what we see from almost everywhere in town will help you understand the emotional reasons as well.

Inspiration: John Sandel.

18 comments:

Vanda said...

I drove up there once. There are many nice views from thereabouts.

Shell Sherree said...

It does capture what I imagine of Pasadena ~ funny how I look at the terracotta tiles, clear blue sky and palm trees and think, "Summer", even though it's winter there!!

Jilly said...

Looks wonderful to me!

Virginia said...

Quintessential.....a word I have never used. They say if you use a word 5 times it becomes yours. I'm going to try that. Plethora is still my all time favorite word but I'm going to give quintessential a go! Thanks J and P

Love your view. Do you all know how lucky you are to have it? I think so.
V

PS My wv is potedu. I think that's French. :)

J+P said...

Joyce thought the most beautiful word in all English was cuspidor.

Sometimes, at dusk, I chance to look up and through our kitchen windows see houseroofs to the north and, atop the ragged line of hills, the Observatory, like an antique sentinel.

After the sun dies on the mountain flanks, the sky deepens its blue to black. Orion wheels above the world … and up in those lofty cabins, windowlights come on.

It makes me happy to know that, above the chaos of valley life, bearded nerds still work up there, bent all night over their brass wheels and eyepieces like monks in a scryry.

Their lights burn like candles even as the houses in our valley go dark. We climbs into our beds all safe—partly, it feels, because we are watched over by those patient, pondering folk.

Petrea said...

I like it up there, Vanda. Keep meaning to go for a photo shoot.

Shell, as much as I complain when it gets below 50 degrees--let's face it, I complain when it gets below 70--compared to the east coast right now, it's summer here all the time.

Merci, Jilly.

It's always good to have a new word, Virginia. Glad you can use it. And yes, we're grateful for our view. I love flat land and find it beautiful, but I never tire of the mountains.

This isn't the view from our house, but we see the Observatory from our back yard. J obviously loves this view. He does a visual check-in with the astronomers almost nightly.

Sweetie, it's fitting you should compare the astronomers to monks, as they room in a "monastery." http://www.mtwilson.edu/vir/monastery/

Linda Dove said...

One of the poems I wrote this year was my 'ode to the observatory.' It seemed a necessary thing.

Greg Sweet said...

A couple weeks ago, heading back from a final exam in forestry at Citrus College, Glendora, there was a crisp, clear and unobstructed view of Mount Wilson from the San Gabriel River. With no smoke, fog, smog or experimental gasses from government contrails, one could clearly pick out with the naked eye both the 60" and the 100" telescopes on the northeast summit.

Years ago there was an amazing shot of Mount Wilson in one of local the newspapers, probably from somewhere in northeast LA. It had an Ansel Adams depth of field with graceful California Fan Palms in the foreground and icicles hanging from the snow-covered antennae on the mountain. I have looked, but never found the photo.

Greg Sweet said...

I just realized that when I am feeling historic and/or historical, I spell out the word "Mount" instead of abbreviating it "Mt."

Incidentally, Petrea, the word identification required for this post is "pullac". I don't think they like that anymore ;)

TheChieftess said...

Yep...I'd agree...quintessential Pasadena!!!

TheChieftess said...

Hmmmmm, Virginia...I'm surprised you've never used the word quintessential before, especially with you being as erudite as you are and having the word plethora as your all time favorite!!! I looove the word quintessential....it's soo....well, it's sooo quintessential!!!!

Petrea said...

Linda, I think a lot of us felt odes to the Observatory in our hearts this year, but few could write them with your eloquence.

I tend to spell it out, Greg. Unless I don't. I don't have a pattern. That photo sounds wonderful. I'm pretty sure I didn't take it.

As long as we're choosing favorites, Chieftess, I like the word, "luminous." "Chieftess" is a cool word, too.

Michael Coppess said...

Looks like an oak tree in the foreground. Another typical sight in Pasadena. Very nice shot.

Greg Sweet said...

@ Virginia: Quinn Essential...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ha_8vUYzwUw

Petrea said...

Maybe, Michael. Good eye.

May I share that video with Virginia, Greg? Thanks.

TheChieftess said...

L-u-m-i-n-o-u-s!!!! Outstanding word!!!

I thoroughly enjoyed the Quinn essential video!!!

Thal Armathura said...

Petrea, again we mirror each other. My posting of December 15 looks like a Maxfield Parrish, I thought. Where else could this be?
The Pasadena Weekly picks up on the Mayor calling Pasadena the "Paris on the Pacific" but George Ellery Hale called us the "Athens of the West" and his Mt. Wilson Observatory is Pasadena's Acropolis, where Hale the "Solar Priest" held ceremonies with the other astronomers in the "Monastery" building designed by Myron Hunt. Usually,links don't come through, but here is the link to my posting http://avenuetotheskylakeavenuepasadena.blogspot.com/2009/12/view-of-echo-mountain-mount-lowe-from.html

Petrea said...

He held ceremonies? What kind?