Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 25th
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blog_ca1First words from the road
InspiredCA is a new blog for the Good Times, one we were asked to write by Greg Archer. Over the next two months, filmmaker Mark Halfmoon and I are traveling to every corner of the state of California asking people what inspires them about this state. It is our belief that in a time when the language about our state has been particularly negative (this was reinforced to Mark and I watching recent Gubernatorial campaign commercials in hotels that we have stayed in since leaving), for some real and some perceived reasons, individuals who live in California or visit California by the millions each year, do so for a reason. We believe that reason is that there is a vast pool of human and natural resources that is unique to this place and people want to share and participate in those resources.

Mark and I have been on the road since last Thursday. On our journey south, we have stopped at Watsonville, San Juan Bautista, Castroville, Seaside, Marina, Monterey, Pacific Grove, Pebble Beach, Carmel and Big Sur, and we are making our way down the coast to San Simeon and Cambria.The people we have met along the way have been thoughtful and generous with their insights and inspirations about California.

blog_ca2It’s interesting, with places so near to Santa Cruz, asking people about their state, their home and what is important to them—it is as if we have never been to those places before. We spoke with a group of local politicians and civic organizers at a John Laird fundraiser in Watsonville, including Laird himself, and despite the challenges that the state faces economically, each were optimistic about the future of California.

We spoke with people from Monterey and San Juan Bautista, who shared the same optimism for the future of California. In Big Sur we spoke with artists and long term residents who shared their deep affinity for the land and what the land has done to change their lives.  The beginning of our journey has supported our initial suspicions of the common ground that we all share about California.

Last night we camped at Molera State Park along the Big Sur coastline. At about 10 p.m. the full moon began to rise above the Big Sur hills and it began to light up the meadow where we were camping. Over the next two hours, the moon rose, casting a brighter and brighter light on the hills, the meadow and the sea. The 22 campers spread throughout the meadow, asleep in their tents, were flooded with moonlight. The extraordinary beauty of the setting seemed to Mark and I like a signpost for what we will discover on the rest of our journey. We will see.

Thoreau moved to Walden Pond to live directly and to escape what he called ‘society,’ what he ended up writing about is the common shared values of people within society, eventually moving back to Boston upon the publication of his book. So is the hope of this trip, to find our California common ground.

You can follow us on our journey at

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