Living in Chico (95926) for twenty-plus years, I’d traveled the old road to Paradise (95969) countless times: as a kid, in the back of the ’54 Ford Ranchwagon to have Chinese served by an old red-headed waitress at the Pagoda; as an eleven-year-old, on a black Schwinn “Racer” with a Sturmey-Archer three-speed hub; as a teen with his first drivers license and a girlfr… Well, never mind.
It had been at least a quarter century since I’d made it back this way.
BEFORE WE KEPT TRACK OF TIME, the land upon which we walk was sea floor. The collision of the North American Plate with the Pacific Plate prompted an uplift. Ancient rivers flowed easterly toward the Pacific. They cut deep channels in this soft former ocean bottom. Then, emanating from a deep fissure a ways to the east, volcanic action squeezed molten magma from the deep batholith. A viscous layer filled the old river canyons. Over time, it hardened like plaster in a mold. Soon the old ridge tops were of softer stuff than basalt that filled the streams. Millennia passed. Water, ice, wind and any other degrading element God could create broke those soft former-ridges down. The result is a series of canyons that are near the photo-negative of what had existed before. In them flow the rivers and streams of the present day. Including Butte Creek.
ABOUT HALF WAY UP the Honey Run, kids from Paradise come down to leave their mark on the land. Well, the pavement. Spray painted for all to see are the primitive etchings of this young and virile crowd. “PHS – Class of 97.” “PHS – Class of 04.” “Stacey (heart) Bill.” “GS + DD – True Love 4ever.”
I drove slowly up this windy section searching the graffiti, only to discover my mark, left in about 1970, had long ago faded.
LETTING THE LOW SUN’S rays soak into my black riding jacket I found myself confused as to the source of the warm feeling. Was it indeed the sun or had it something to do with a flood of memories.
Church of the Open Road Press