By Kátia Moraes

The Super Bowl started at 3pm while I was driving on the 405 and then exiting on Sunset, headed for my hiking trail. I went down the famous boulevard with the windows of my car wide open listening to a pagode (style of samba) on KPFK. Looks like people who love nature had the same idea. It didn’t surprise me since the day was beautiful and the sky was blue. If it were in the morning I’d probably be in the middle of a very boring fog. To live on the West Side is a double-edged sword. The air is cleaner but the clouds hover until they disappear around noon. The beach and the cold don’t go together for me.

It was a special day. I was happy because the day before yesterday there was an anti-war demonstration in Porto Alegre (the capital of the southern state of Brazil) and a 100,000 people showed up. My friend Shabazz (Malcom X’s daughter) sent me an email saying that Danny Glover was there for the International Forum. Interesting. I wonder how the weather is in Rio and later I found out about the summer rainstorms. When I hike in Los Angeles, especially in the mountains close to the beach, it reminds me of when I lived in Rio.

There I was, going up the mountain through a narrow trail looking for the landscape I adore so much seeing. Venice, Santa Monica and Malibu beaches from above are a wonderful thing. I sat on a rock looking at a mirrored sea with boats. Catalina Island was right there in front of me. I saw a Japanese girl wearing a little hat and a backpack. She walked from one hill to another and stopped at her chosen place. She took off her sweater and hat, sitting to look at the vast sea.

After 15 minutes or so she took a book from the backpack, crossed her legs like a Buddha and started reading while the breeze refreshed her face. I decided to take my bandana off and congratulated myself for not bringing a coat this time. It was hot. A nice summer day in January. That reminded me of a chapter from Michael Moore’s book when he talks about the rising of the Earth’s temperature. Reminded me of a quake I felt when I was hiking at Will Rogers, not so far from where I am today, just a week before the 1994 earthquake. I also remembered that Lenine (Brazilian singer and composer) was visiting Sergio Mendes at that time. He had to kick the door that got stuck so he could get out. All of these memories rushed through my head until the green and blue of Mother Nature calmed my mind.

But I really went there to smile. And I smile so much that I sing all the way down back to the parking lot. During my hike back I thought about the last hike I did with my friend Fiona.We’re luck too. It was a transparent day. We went up the mountain in Pasadena and arrived at a place where a railway existed in the 19th Century. We saw the ruins of a hotel also built at the end of the same time. When we stood where the hotel’s lookout used to be, we understood why it took so much to build a place in such an isolated spot. From there you have a 180_ view of Los Angeles. We saw downtown, Century City, some of the beaches, Catalina Island, etc. It was the best view of the city of angels from the San Fernando Valley I had ever seen. Oh yes, it was hot!

Some years ago I organized a hike and invited a German lady who used to lead groups for the Sierra Club. Maya was 65 years old and had an incredible energy. Our Brazilian group got together at 7:30am at the corner of Lauren Cyn and Fryman in Studio City and Maya set the pace of the hike from the start. In the middle of the 9-mile hike some of my Brazilian friends started panting and asking her to slow down. But Maya kept up the pace and the girls arrived at the Mulholland Lookout very happy and proud of themselves. Well, I have an idea. If you like to hike like me, what about getting together on a Sunday.

* Katia Moraes is a singer and songwriter. She is a native from Rio de Janeiro and lives in Los Angeles for more than 20 years – www.katiamoraes.com 

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