Solvang is a small Danish community, slash village, west of Los Angeles. It is nestled in the hills northeast of Santa Barbara. It is one of those common outings most Southern Californians seem to have experienced at least once. I never had prior to today. I’ve avoided it not because I never had a chance, but simply because the idea of frolicking through a small replica of Amsterdam never quite got my blood pumping. I’ve seen photos. Windmills, bakeries, Danish restaurants…not my cup of tea. Nevertheless, today I broke my Danish cherry. I visited Solvang for the first time in my life as part of a brief apple picking expedition. I’d never been apple picking before, either. I’ll gladly do it again. In fact, I’ll take up the offer many small SoCal farms extend to clueless urban dwellers to pick other fruits, such as strawberries, blueberries, etc.
Solvang is very nice. It is quaint. It is clean. It is White! From Wikipedia:
The 2010 United States Census reported that Solvang had a population of 5,245. The population density was 2,161.6 people per square mile (834.6/km²). The racial makeup of Solvang was 4,326 (82.5%) White, 38 (0.7%) African American, 59 (1.1%) Native American, 72 (1.4%) Asian, 1 (0.0%) Pacific Islander, 611 (11.6%) from other races, and 138 (2.6%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1,530 persons (29.2%).
Which perhaps explains what it was about Solvang I enjoyed most, and the thing I love in general about most upper crust heavily Anglo portions of Los Angeles: the cleanliness and immaculate flawlessness of the neighborhood presentations. Look at these photos of the predominantly White and Dutch-rooted California village.
There a pleasant and high-minded gentility about this little Dutch retreat. This is not how streets look in East L.A. or Compton. White people of a certain mind keep their neighborhood and living arrangements in this style of arranged orderliness. Everything down to the potted plants and dustpan seem laid out with the utmost precision and recognition of design. There is a preordained expectation to this environment. Nothing is haphazard, nothing has been allowed to simply fall into chaotic disuse by attrition. This is the type of immaculate existence that proliferates when life is accounted for and planned with full cognizance of one’s environment.
Feng Shui is not only about creating a mentality and ambiance of linearity and synchronization. It is also about allowing the deliberate soul to express itself in the manifest layout of your physical habitat. Even though this applies popularly to the individuastic notion of one person, it also applies to the communal psyche of a homogeneous people and their village, town or city. Or neighborhood. Essentially, by examining the physical domain of a population, you can tell everything about their thoroughness and mentality. When I see a community such as Solvang, it’s obvious these people have their lives and shit in order. I don’t care if they are rich or have spacious homes. All that matters is the fact that they have an orderly sense of existence and it expresses itself in the tiniest nooks and crannies of the shaded alleyway behind a public building. There is a sense of cohesiveness. Go to any economically depressed White or minority area and everything is in utter disarray. There is a lack of pride and mindfulness which is discernible (or graffitied) in the pervasive disconnect between an environment and its dysfunctional inhabitants. The spirit of the man designs or destroys his community.
Outside Solvang there is a small apple orchard where I was able to pick my own apples off trees for $1.75/lb which is higher than many stores but whatever, it’s about the experience. The fruit is pesticide free (organic) which is quite apparent as you traverse the dusty course through swarms of bees and other winged fruit scavengers. I don’t mind apples with one hole, but I shied away from the pieces that had more than that. Apple divots don’t bother me, but before biting, I make sure to scoop out the surrounding areas where holes appear in order to make sure I don’t consume any insect flesh.
Some apples that laid on the ground had transformed into alien fermenting bodies of rotted fruit flesh and played host to many hungry bees.
The scene made me think of Adam and Eve. Did Adam need to swat aside flies, bees, spiders or dust, in order to find the perfect red crunchy specimen for his lovely? My illusion of the Garden of Eden is that of Solvang. Pristine, orderly, emptied of dust and carnage. Fruit awaits patiently and invitingly. Mother nature is the ultimate housekeeper and nothing is disordered about her fields of living. But today’s apple orchard told the truth, didn’t it? Nature is not Solvang and man is not orderly. In order to rise to godliness, man must leave himself behind.
I doubt Adam relinquished the apple, for he was greedy and curious.