Thursday, May 10, 2007

My Island Is Burning


It's breaking my heart. Don't let it reach Avalon.

p.s. this photo, earlier today and before things were as dire as they seem to be now, was taken by the same photog who snapped my US Today photo.

p.p.s. For those of you unfamiliar with Catalina Island, some brief history and some facts: During Hollywood's golden age, Catalina was a movie-star playground. Anyone who was anyone enjoyed it's euro-resort vibe. Two great steamers would ferry party-goers over each evening to dine and dance and party along the water front and in the landmark, art-deco wonder of a Casino, over by Descanso Beach. The Casino - named in the classical sense as a place of entertainment, NOT a card game location.

Most of the island was owned by the Wrigley family - as in gum and field. In fact, ramps leading from the Casino's lower floor movie house to its upper floor dance hall were constructed with the same proportions as the ramps at Wrigley Field. Wrigley recognized the importance of preserving the island and so deemed some 85% protected - as it still remains, managed by the Santa Catalina Island Conservancy.

In the 1920s, a film crew, seeking to recreate the old West, shipped a barge of bison, wild boar, and goats over to the island. To that point, the largest native animal was the Catalina Island fox. You can imagine how well it fared with its larger competitors. It was making a comeback. I suppose by morning, we'll know if it still is.

Another animal of note: the bald eagle.

I have camped on this island since I was 5 years old. Most summers in high school were highlighted by time working there as a camp counselor. Spending a day or two in Avalon is like . . . . well, if you have spent some time there, you know what I mean. It is lovely beyond words. A tiny, quiet, golf-cart-strewn oasis, 26 miles across the sea. It is Hollywood and Europe and retro and relaxing.

Let it all be there tomorrow. I hate not being able to see more coverage up here in Sac.

More photos of my pretty island here.

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