Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Break of day

Drove my dad down to the airport this morning at what would have been the crack of dawn had it not been overcast. Instead, the sky of dark grey showed patches of palest blue, then the whole sky turned slowly bluish grey, then slowly moved toward a pearly grey. Whizzing down an empty freeway at daybreak is an amazing thing, even without the sun or any colors. The surrounding development seems not quite really to be there.It was interesting especially because we'd just read about a San Diego Museum of Natural History excavation in San Clemente Canyon of the site of a Kumeyaay (perhaps Sycuan?) village settled for nearly 9000 years. The village tip has been confirming big changes in climate and fauna over these years. At the start of settlement, the oceans were lower: the shore was 30 m farther west and rocky. The mouth of the San Clemente river made for an estuarine environment which eventually yielded the sandy beach at La Jolla. I don't know if the village was there when the Spanish took over in 1798, but it's inside the presidio precinct (map at right from here). A freeway runs up San Clemente canyon now.

[15/6: Went for a walk in San Clemente Canyon - now known as the Marian Bear Memorial Park - between Genesee and I-805. It's a very pretty place, full of plants familiar and unfamiliar (like the 7-foot Hooker's evening primrose and the winecup, below). If you tune out the freeway and ignore the cisterns, it feels like nobody's ever been here.]

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