I almost — no, I do — feel guilty that while I was enjoying bright sunny days here on the Central Coast people in the east were seeing their homes and cars carried away by rushing flood waters.
I can’t imagine the soggy mess you’d encounter going back into a home that was filled with water. I’ve done just enough home construction and repair to know what water does to sheetrock, the electrical, plumbing and heating systems, as well as furniture, clothing, keepsakes and more.
My appreciation of living here is also enhanced by how few of us there are in San Luis Obispo County. There are more people in the city of Bakersfield than all of San Luis Obispo County.
As I drove home from Southern California a few days ago, I was reminded of the beauty of this entire area.
I felt like I’d arrived “home” as I approached the hills just south of Buellton heading north to Los Alamos and inching my way into the Santa Maria Valley, the Nipomo Mesa, the Arroyo Grande/Pismo/Shell Beach section and finally through San Luis Obispo and up over the Cuesta Grade to Atascadero.
Last month a trip to Mission San Antonio reminded me of the vast open areas north of Paso Robles all the way to the Monterey County line and west toward the hills that hold this historic California landmark.
It makes me appreciate the efforts of those who have opposed growth throughout the region — and grateful for those who fought to keep major commercial development from happening on the Hearst Ranch and those who spent so many difficult hours securing the open space at San Simeon and even here in Atascadero for the Three Bridges region along Highway 41 west of Atascadero Lake.
As a younger journalist and editor, I think I was critical of the treehuggers and liberals who fought almost every developer interest. My dear friend, the late Marj Mackey, often reminded me of my comments regarding her “fuzzy thinking” approach to the Earth, even while I was helping her carry jugs of water into Pine Mountain Stadium to water some young trees she’d planted there.
It is essential that we all work to keep this pristine area free of major development, especially at a time we don’t even know where the water will come from to support it.
Remember when the popular “small is beautiful” mantra was bandied about?
Less is too.