There are certain days that require a bit more unwinding than others. For such occasions, neither strong drink nor episodic binges will suffice to escape lingering thoughts on the day’s activities. Rather, these days are, despite impacted traffic and eclipsing daylight, best remedied by a long, solitary drive. A practice that creates space for the mind to process hard conversations and, in the end, is rewarded by a beauty only nature can procure.
On days like these, I head to Laurel Canyon, a eucalyptus-lined fissure connecting Hollywood to the Valley. I roll down all the windows and drive in complete silence, allowing the rhythm of her sensuous curves to gently assuage my mind from my thoughts. I’m distracted by the scent of honey supplied by unbridled dust in the air. I’m delighted by flecks of golden sunlight dancing upon my skin admitted through the musky oaks overhead. Turning onto an arterial road, I'm ensconced by cool walls of earth which provide the foundations for aged residences. They seem to claw at the hills, holding back secrets of a previous life. This is a Los Angeles unlike anywhere else, a former Bohemain enclave hosting legends like Morrison and Zappa. I drive quickly past a few friends - a mixture of modernist rectangles, treehouses, and chateau-style homes - and rewrite their stories in my head. But there’s one friend, I’ve really come to see. An L-shaped residence now peaking over arid landscaping. This is architect Pierre Koenig’s Bailey House, erected in 1959 as part of the Case Study House Program. Not wanting to be intrusive to its occupants, I stay in the car, my view of the edifice obscured by overgrown plantings. I imagine my life here 50 years ago, pulling into the carport after a long day, fixing a dry martini, and lounging in an Eames chair outdoors, watching the day come to a close. The sun now fades away, urging return to the comfort of my own home. But more importantly, reminding that while my worries may not be over, each day is a brand new day.