Garrett Harris 10:11 p.m., May 23
There's no place like Rainbow. This low mountain ecotone combines riparian woodland with coastal sage scrub, creating an expansive earth tone canvas splashed with Live Oak, Palms, citrus, and multi-colored flowering plants. The canyons act as a giant condenser, capturing and cooling the marine breezes from Oceanside. The peaks of Olympus Mount and Monserate Mountain are occasionally shrouded in morning clouds as a result, offering a welcome riposte to the generally classic Californian sunny blue skies. A lifetime resident described to me the weather here as "Springtime (that) last(s) forever." After nearly two years here myself, I have to agree.
I began my new life in Rainbow a year after my wife's sudden death. We had found ourselves washed up and marooned in Temecula after losing our jobs and home in the recession/depression/downturn of 2008-2009. After several weeks of moving from motel to motel, we ensconced ourselves in a small studio and redoubled our efforts to regroup. She had talked frequently about her desire to move to Rainbow when we got back our our feet. Within a month she had developed pneumonia. After two weeks in the ICU, she was dead, and I was left alone with two kids and an autistic stepson to take care of.
I did get things together, and when I did, I searched for and found a rental house in Rice Canyon. She would have been quite pleased with my selection, downright proud of me. Sometimes I wake up and can't wait to tell her about the house I got for us, the view, the grove of trees, the acres of yard - all in Rainbow, her favorite place; then I come back to reality and remember she's gone.
Each day is a lot like the last here. The serenity is punctuated from time to time by the tactile bursts of sound from Marine exercises miles to the west, but other than that, the area feels like Eden itself. Some days, I speculate that perhaps it is actually me who died rather than my wife, and I'm trapped inside the last few moments of my dying brain activity.
Maybe this is all a dream. A very literal dream, but a dream nonetheless. It would explain why I don't seem to make a whole lot of personal progress. Not only do I not really want to leave this place, I can't leave.
Search as I may, I could think of no better place to blissfully fade away than here. No place like Rainbow.