Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Where the Mountains meet the Sea

Click to "embiggen"

Santa Monica Beach. It's here that the coast of Los Angeles, Santa Monica Bay, curves to the west after a steep, straight shot northwest from the Palos Verde peninsula. The Santa Monica Mountains, one of the few transverse mountain ranges in North America, rear up their rocky flanks above Hollywood and Bel Air and Brentwood, march west and force the coast to take a turn to the left, before petering out into the Pacific Ocean.

The seal of the City of Santa Monica shows this curving coast, along with a quite attractive mermaid and a legend proclaiming "Populus Felix in Urbe Felici", or "a happy people in a happy city." Interestingly, the coast shown in the seal is not part of the City; the city limits end just about at the point where the beach takes its left turn.

Funny how Santa Monica uses non-city topography as its emblem. The mountains and beaches beyond are part of the Pacific Palisades neighborhood of the City of Los Angeles, and the place I live, the unincorporated L.A. County community of Topanga.

If you look at the photo, my house is probably just on the backside of the ridge that's above the orange lifeguard shack.

It's been said that "Topanga" comes from a word the native Tongva people used that meant "where the mountains meet the sea." Other linguists have disputed that, saying it might just mean "a place above."

No matter. When I stand on the beach and look at those mountains where my house is, with the sky above and the curving coast, I know this is a place where "the mountains meet the sea."


Cloudia said...

very nice...from my beach to yours!

Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

smalltownme said...

What a glorious day.

I live behind a transverse range, too, although I never knew the terminology before.

Gilly said...

I know I've said it before, but you live in such a beautiful place! Beaches AND mountains, (transverse or other!) - just what my soul needs today!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

"the mountains meet the sea"

Alternative dating site!

Jason, as himself said...

I was just there a couple of days ago.

Sue said...

You've really got me envious today!