“ I have always depended on the kindness of Strangers….”
Blanche DuBois – A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams
Dusky skies swirl with pink and purple and palm trees dot the horizon. As twilight emerges, crickets come out to play their soft lullabies into the night. Dawn breaks the eve’s slumber with soft sunrise peaking through the window, and birds usher in the morning. Another bright-eyed hopeful arrives with suitcase in hand and determination, stepping unto the land where dreams are made: It is a new day in The City of Angels, baby.
Fast forward to a few years later, if not a few months. The white hot sun blazes yet another plus-hundred degree afternoon. A ceaseless car horn in the distance is drowned out by police helicopters directly above. Night falls and with it giant water bugs emerge, dotting the sides of cement walls and seeking their entrance. Sleep is broken by the forlorn cry of alley cats hungering for food and comfort. The once hopeful eyes are now haggard and fearful, wondering: ‘oh where, oh where are these said Angels? ‘Cause I’m beginning to think this is a little too hot for heaven…’
They’re all around you, baby. And what’s more? You can find them in places where admission is free or with donation.
GREYSTONE MANSION: Having limited mobility (I have Rheumatoid Arthritis), I like walking at my own pace, especially if it’s a day where I need to ‘get away’ within the city. I went on a weekday and brought a journal. I had no idea of the mansion’s history (it’s creepy) and couldn’t find my way around. The security guard guided me to the grounds, all the while giving me a background of the mansion. He was so informative, friendly and let me be to myself–it was the perfect amount of human interaction before I settled onto a bench and enjoyed the shade from the trees on a hot day. greystonemansion.org
LOS ANGELES PUBLIC LIBRARY CENTRAL BRANCH: This historical building has four floors built underground. I went on a Saturday and took a free docent-led tour of the building. It is a quiet respite set in DTLA, and an entire day can be spent escaping life’s bustle amongst the stacks of books. http://www.lapl.org/branches/central-library
PEACE AWARENESS LABYRINTH & GARDENS: This is my perfect day trip when in need of solace. Everyone is in good spirits. There is a labyrinth set amongst the beautiful outdoor space. Below, a garden with hidden nooks where to retreat while listening to water fountains. It is truly a haven in the city. You may opt to have a docent-led tour of the grounds, or spend the afternoon on your own. For hours and more information: http://www.peacelabyrinth.org/
You may not be swept up in giant feathery wings, nor have all your Earthbound matters dissolved. But it may be the person who greets you with a smile at a help desk, gives you a tour or kindly wishes you a good day at one of the three historical landmarks shared above that makes all the difference. Take a day to enjoy some time on your own in the company of strangers. Oh, and a gentle reminder: You are one, too, an angel–or have the potential to be–to someone else in need of a kind gesture. Remember that as you go about your day, my dear Angeleno.