The mountains called again, the Los Angeles Winter Mountains. When I need to let go, I seek the ocean. When I need strength, I go into the mountains. Lately, I have needed a lot of strength. After my daughter, Anya was diagnosed with Long QT Syndrome, and our lives changed overnight she was put on beta-blockers. She was fatigued, depressed and felt like she had just lost her childhood.
No one was sleeping well, because there was this underlying fear that we would go to wake her up again, and couldn’t. The morning that happened still chilled us all. The sound of my husband yelling to call the ambulance echoes off the walls. It was a cold, gray day in Southern California. We were all sitting in our dark living room, too tired to turn on the lights, staring out the window, even weeks later.
The sky reflected our moods, and we could see the white-topped peaks just out of our reach, lining the ring around our valley. I convinced my husband to go for a drive “to the top of the hill” just to get a better view. It will get us out of the house. The rain made us stuck inside for days. The same rain was making snow just 10 miles north of us. Since moving to Los Angeles, we always loved the fact the mountains were so close. Why not take a winter drive up to see the snow on the mountains?
This is how most of my adventures begin. I start by saying “why not?”
Why Not Drive to See the Winter Mountains?
So in jeans and sweatshirts, we jumped in the car. We drove up “the hill” known as The 14 highway.
This was the goal of our journey. To see something to remind us that There’s More To Life. But there were more mountains to see. So we kept driving.
At one point, we found a small country road off of the highway and pulled off onto the shoulder. We were one of many cars, stopping, letting the kids out to see snow. The family next to us told us it was the first their grade school kids ever saw snow!
The Snowball Cure
Anya was already out of the car, running up the hill. Snow crunching under her brand new gym shoes (naturally). Snow softly flew with each footstep, and her cheeks began turning pink with the cold. Her eyes were bright and the smile on her face, and she was a kid again. Snowballs flew. The snowball hit my face and it stung. The cold stung my cheeks and made me feel alive. Like we were all waking up from hibernation. Everything else was forgotten but the smell of fresh snow and pine, the crunching, the changing skies overhead. Anya was reliving her winter childhood days playing in the snow in Illinois.
We kept driving just over the “next hill” until the clouds grew darker and darker with the LA next winter storm rolling in. The clouds chased us all the way back to Santa Clarita.
The Rainbow After The Storm
In the shadow of those Los Angeles winter mountains, the sun broke through. An absolute perfect double rainbow appeared in the sky. I looked at Anya and said, “now do you believe me that everything will be alright?”
She slept peacefully and soundly that night, from all the fresh air and finally forgetting about her heart rate. Her heart was full of the day’s sunlight and pure snow. She was strong from the wintery mountains of Los Angeles. And she was a kid again.