It's been a looooong time since I went hiking in the local mountains. If you aren't from LA you might not know that there are a few LARGE national forests in our backyard. Or that several long and lovely mountain ranges traverse the entire long length of our northern city boundry. Or that in the winter lots of Angeleno's head up into these mountains with snowboards strapped to the roofs of their cars. Snowboarding, skiing, winter wonderland cabins all a stone's throw from LA city proper. True story.
On Saturday I did exactly none of those things. But I did go on a forested walkabout. You know…as a show of good faith. Got the old tuchus moving. I felt sort of like a lumbering bear walking on her back legs for most of the hike. My friend (who's a person) was WAY ahead of me. She kept coming back to check and make sure I hadn't toppled over into a ravine. I hadn't!
My slow pace didn't lessen my sense of exhileration at being under a canopy of blue, surrounded by all of the sweet smelling chapparal. Long skirted ferns grew in the shade, a cold stream roared along down through the bottom of the canyon. Black birds cawed back and forth. Forested bliss.
I have stacks of books on hiking trails in the local mountains. Books from a former life. Collected by a self that I haven't been in a long time. A 30-something self that hiked, biked, walked, moved through the world with more ease. Seems like getting older is less about meeting new selves than getting reaquainted with older selves that have gotten lost along the way.
Maybe you have a former self you're wanting to get back in contact with…?
The comments are open and we're all ears.
A former former self. The original mary ann moss:
Who wandered off by herself (away from her Athens, Greece home) in 1964 and got lost. I'm the little punk in the middle who's smiling.
LOve the photo! you write the coolest posts. xo
love that our present selves got together and did something that our former selves used to do together quite a bit.
i’m in the process of scanning
negatives. many many negatives.
seeing things the old me saw
through new eyes is a revelation.
Mary Ann Moss says
its in altadena….upper MILLARD CANYON – north on fair oaks to alta loma go left to cheny trail go up the mountain stop at fire road parking (just a few cars) start hiking up the fire road. in a bit trail starts on left. eventually drops down into the upper millard canyon. theres a cute little cabin where you veer off to the left to get to the bottom. youll here the water roaring and see a water fall when youre on the ridge above the falls…before you ever see the canyon bottom.
there are some unbelievably lovely hikes in the san gabriels. lush and gorgeous. youd never know it from looking at the face of the mountains. Modern Hiker has some cool trails to try!
Love old family photos. I’d recognize that smile anywhere! Where did you go hiking Mary Ann? I just moved back to So Cal after 15 years in Seattle and have looked and looked for a reminder of such greenery and lushness but haven’t found it – that looks close though!
Look at You…so confident and independent, even at that age. What a cute little punk..you were, and still are.
emily cline says
how lompy are you?! My former self: *had goofy abundant joy *was fearless & naive in loving * didn’t think I was an artist *didn’t want to get married or have a child *trusted *tackled all my crazy dreams.
too,too adorable!!! Of course, you are the one in the middle….so spot-on!!
M.A.M.-love your blog and your little 6 year old self!!!
Yep. You’ve got punkish written all over you, even at that young age. Good work!
Looks like a little craft monkey…as cute and sweet as can be!
Thanks for your great inspirational blog, Mary Ann!
And sparks fly off of that smiling little punk and land, whoosh, igniting bonfires in the hearts and minds of countless other little L.A. punks every year. I now look at the hill I used to climb several times a week and I wonder how I did it. Now, if I get lonesome for the view from the top, I drive up!
Judy Wise says
look at that precious little face. you haven’t changed one bit. (((hug)))
Susie LaFond says
You were one cute lil punk Mary Ann. As always a post that reaches out far and wide.
Such a dear little person! I had no idea about the Greece bit (why would I?). So much to know.
I believe our former selves really are separate beings. I did a fascinating writing exercise once, a conversation with my 8 yr old self. I cried reading it through, knowing what I know now about that little girl.
This is why I love you and your website! I am going through this now! Meeting up with the former free wheeling artist I used to be BEFORE I started doing it on the computer for a living. And you…and your sweet smiling self… helped inspire me to get back on track.
Former self could eat ice cream without judging its nutritional value. Former self could race a bike downhill and pull a beautiful arc skidded stop without worrying about dire physical danger. Former self was talented at playing. Here’s to playing more and thinking less. This is wonderful video…thought you might get some playful ideas for Paris…perhaps a Parisian haircut?http://private.stephanierausser.com/kiki_and_coco/ — (current self is too lazy to figure out how to paste links, but I am sure you can find this.)
The former self and the present self both defined by a smile. Hiking is good.Lots of things are good, but they don’t define the self. Smiling does. Seeing, really seeing, and being willing and able to help others see defines the self. So here’s to smiling and seeing and taking many trails.
susan w says
battered cowboy boots, faded denim shirt and 501’s, aged Karmann Ghia convertible, solo exploring and trespassing in abandoned farmhouses
susan w says
beautiful red and blue paisley bell bottoms, hip length hair…
most of my teeth…
You were so beautiful… you still are.
That’s a great photo! so cute.
Shelley Noble says
I knew that was you in the middle before you said! Because you are still precisely that self! Innately happy at being alive. I love trying to read the person in the child. For me it’s like trying to tell what the colors and patterns will be on a butterflies wing while they are still a caterpillar.
You are so adorable!! I’d recognize that smile anywhere. And like you I used to do a lot of hiking. Now I hike from the couch to the studio and then to the fridge!
You were and ARE so adorable! We share a love of nature and the outdoors. I also have a (pre-cancer & chemo) past self who loved hiking, bicycling, etc. I hope to see that self again someday. In the interim, your photos are bringing me back to the beauty of that time.
Lisa Hoffman says
I agree that part of the Forward Journey is retaining a nice, taught lifeline to the best parts of the past. Once that core is humming, we can break out, rush forward or just slam it into: FULL SPEED AHEAD. Living near the Rockies and being a former City Girl, I too have those friends that hike forward and cross back : “…to check, YA OKAY?”. I love being able to now say: “Oh SURE, just collecting material for the sketchbook…” Need I say that my close friends NEVER buy that? I hope to see you SOMEWHERE, be it on the trail, in Paris, pacing the streets of Pasadena OR Loveland……