The sand glows an iridescent blue-green colour as I walk along the tide line and ignite the dinoflagellates, tiny organisms that emit a neon-like radiance under the dark sky. The moon is full and reflects off the misty, salty air that conceals the beach ahead. Besides the sound of the crashing waves, it is silent and tranquil. Just when we think we are the alone on the twenty mile stretch of beach, a giant Loggerhead sea turtle emerges from the Atlantic Ocean.
On a recent business trip I experienced an unexpected perfect day that snuck up on me like serendipitous rain shower during a forest fire. When I first heard about my assignment to Portland, Oregon, I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting much, since the only thing I knew about the city was that Clyde Drexler could dunk a mean basketball, and that apparently the last census had proven Portland as the “least ethnically diverse city in America”.
Tucked away in a valley filled with orange groves fewer than 90 miles from central Los Angeles is the village of Ojai-an oasis from stress, home to artists, health devotees and other urban escapees. Surrounded by burnished peaks, its grasses green in spring and gold in summer and fall, the Ojai Valley was the setting for Shangri-La in the 1937 Hollywood movie The Lost Horizon. It is still a place where you can retreat from a fast-paced lifestyle to find serenity on oak-shaded paths.