This past Sunday, the movie business folks awarded one another for their cinematic successes over the past year. Amidst the revelry, many filmmakers and actors spoke of how the magic of movies often reflects the beauty of reality and vise-versa.
While awards shows do their best to mix the art with real life, the over-produced spectacle that is The Oscars can also serve as a reminder to occasionally break away from the continuous entertainment cycle.
So instead of sticking around last weekend, this examiner sought out some balance between make-believe and the real world by paying a visit to the kings of all the trees at Sequoia National Park.
As we scuttle about our desert city, maintaining relationships and establishing new connections, we too easily forget that California has some of the most stunning natural beauty on Earth, much of which is only a short drive from the bustle of Hollywood.
Joshua Tree - two hours.
Yosemite - five hours
Death Valley - four hours.
Big Sur - five hours
Sequoia - together with King's Canyon - is a magical mountain landscape up in the Sierras where time stands still and the massive, red bohemoths seem to preside over not just California's central valley but the whole of our home planet too.
You could talk about the need for inspiration. You could mention a desire to escape from the constant pressures of life as a burgeoning creative force in a sea of uncertainty. But when you're standing at the bottom of a nearly 3,000 year old Monarch Sequoia, listening to the deafening silence of the ancient forest, you quickly realize that your opinions, frustrations, failures, successes and even your feelings just don't matter so much.
It's a very calming realization.
If the magic of art lies in its ability to transport you to other worlds, the magic of the natural world is limitless.
One of the toughest challenges as a writer is to create art from that which is difficult to pinpoint in real life. So if it's been a while since you last found yourself at a loss for words, it may be time for a new kind of challenge.
Put aside all the big city hoopla and go bear witness to something truly magnificent.
And when you do, see if you can describe your experience with something more than just...