Peacocks, Paseo, Politics


Last spring we had some squatters in our back yard.  Yes, a peahen had nestled herself on top of one sturdy hedge bordering our neighbors next door.  Oddly, her “nest” wasn’t noticed by our family right away.  At final first discovery much to our surprise, it was expertly camouflaged by being deep enough so that when she covered her eggs and nestled her head, there was no interruption in the landscape of the foliage.  Also when doing so, it appeared that a piece of bark lay there instead, obviously fallen from the tree above.  It was a brilliant location.  From our upper back deck, we could observe her home very close up, without disturbing her peace.  Hidden in the hedge so well, plus the nearby tree branches robbing views from predators above, we knew this was one smart chick!  (Rather, peahen).

Sharing this incredible delight with our neighbors proved equally surprising.  Some appreciated the awe of it all, equally intrigued at this beautiful “happening” placed right within our comfortable reach.  And what an education, too!  Others reacted to the peahen’s new digs with sheer disgust!  Disgust? Really?  “Get rid of it!  Eggs? Crack ‘em!  Shoot it, get it out of your yard!  Peacocks are dirty, noisy and have ruined our garden!”   These certain responses were as far and wide as the chasm that exists on Paseo del Mar right now.

My husband and I were baffled.   Neighbors we were certain that would love the event – didn’t! Not one bit!  Those we thought wouldn’t be interested at all – were!  Massively!  We just couldn’t get it right.  But our eyes were opened to varied opinions for a gazillion different reasons.

We continued to love having the peahen and her five eggs as long as she wanted or needed to stay.  We eventually learned the pattern of her daily routine, could identify her “scream” from others, when she would safely leave her nest for food, while taking that small window of opportunity to be able to peek at her beautiful, perfect eggs resting there.  All was good and just in her world, safe in our yard.

Perhaps the closure of Paseo del Mar, (or the lack of it!) has contributed to this “preserve-like” atmosphere.  The immediate area of the landslide four years ago has created an even more peaceful and serene surrounding atmosphere.  No more cars, trucks or noisy motorcycles, auto accidents, drag races or loud people either.  Just walkers, joggers, cyclists, nature lovers, bird watchers, dog walkers, locals and savvy out-of-towners enjoying that elusive edge of the world.  The lone tree that still stands strong in spite of earth surrounding it long gone is almost like a monument to San Pedro itself:  “Only the Strong Survive.”  Another natural “must see” in Pedro, like the nature preserve, White’s Point, the tide pools and hiking trails, to name a few.

So here we go again.  Paseo del Mar, what will become of you?  What type of restoration, if any, will take place?  What will the people decide?  Will a bridge be built, the road restored or will it be left as it is?

There are those who label it “inconvenient” being closed, to those loving the abundance it now provides.  “My husband proposed to me there!”  “It’s where I had my first kiss!”  “Such a beautiful drive!”  “The Corner Store will get more business!”  “It takes 26 seconds longer for an ambulance to reach the same area!”  On the other hand, “How many places in LA are left that provide such beauty, such serenity?”  “The motorcycles and cars are too noisy if the road is restored!”  “Graffiti will be all over the bridge in no time!”  “It’s a signature secret spot, not over crowded, dog friendly, less air and noise pollution, who wouldn’t want that?”  “There’s no place like it!”  Again, a gazillion different reasons, swinging far left and far right, almost puzzling how the same set of circumstances can yield such opposite opinions.  Same picture, opposite views.  And all passionate ones at that!

So, my husband and I almost giggle now when we continue to “get it wrong” when it comes to identifying certain friends that we think would love to see Paseo reopen – don’t!  To those we think would prefer it restored – won’t!  Perplexing!  Challenging and again, eye opening, too.

With the politics of the peacocks and Paseo del Mar, we now see how these examples mirror the messy politics we have on our doorstep right now.  Politics!  Two main candidates, and a gazillion different opinions of what is good and what is not.  Same picture, opposite views.  By now you’d think Hubby and I might have gotten better at identifying whom will support whom or what.  Well, “third time lucky” does not apply here!  From awestruck, to giggly to down-right  jaw-dropping, we again have failed in our inklings.  From both sides of the aisle, we have been made numb in our dismay at the gazillion different (and sometimes ridiculous) reasons allegedly behind the passion of their choices.

The peahen’s eggs never hatched.  One morning to our dismay, they were all gone.  Vanished.  No shells or broken eggs left behind, no evidence of eggs having ever been there at all!   Just one very clean and very empty nest.  Mama’s identifiable screams penetrated the neighborhood.  Nature had not been kind to her in the end, but probably kind to some smart raccoon that knew her schedule as well as we did.

Perhaps there is a lesson here.  Perhaps the same can be said of Paseo del Mar and Politics at hand right now:  Let your identifiable screams be heard before anything precious and meaningful to you gets taken away.  And I promise you, Hubby and I will remain respectful, totally dumbfounded!

Janice Borst-Smith
San Pedro


  1. Love this! Jan, you are awesome! Great writing and very appropriate right now.
    Your bias hubby.
    Dave 🙂

  2. Janny, you are amazing! A timely piece; expertly crafted, insight-fully presented. I recognize your acceptance of nature with Ms Peahen, your cautious evaluation of Paseo del Mar, and your wise correlation between them and politics. So adept is your writing, that after 50 years of friendship, I still can’t figure out who the f#*k you voted for. I love you. Call me. oxoxojoanne


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