Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Saving Hahamongna: the Wisdom of those Before Us, a Gift to Future Generations

Tommy and I take frequent walks in Hahamongna and see all walks of life enjoying it when we do--horseback riders, young families hiking, people walking their dogs, and kids playing frisbee, not to mention the birds and other wildlife that thrive here. The area is a rare natural habitat, one of the few in Southern California that has not been destroyed. I feel fortunate to live in a city that has so far been committed to preserving this natural environment. It's a shame that the community is now in a position of having to fight to save it, but Hahamongna is worth fighting for, so fight we will.

At the moment I'm visiting my sister and her family in central Vermont, a state committed to conserving the land. You see the wonder of that commitment in the rolling green mountains, the winding dirt roads, and the acres of small farms. I've been visiting them here for over 20 years, and each time I return I'm relieved to see that, although it has grown, the natural landscape has not been destroyed. The beauty that brought people here in the first place has been maintained.

How will Pasadena look in 20 years? What will the next generation think of the city? Will people choose to live here because of a couple of soccer fields and large parking lots that provide easy access to those fields? Or will they choose to live here because the city had the foresight to preserve natural open spaces for wildlife and people alike to enjoy?

The word "Hahamongna" means "flowing waters, fruitful valley" in the original native language that was spoken here. Many years after that language was no longer spoken, Einstein wrote about man's "delusion of consciousness," in that man considers himself separate from the whole of the universe. He said we must widen "our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole [of] nature in its beauty."

Let's be guided by the wisdom of those who lived and enjoyed this area long before we did and make decisions for which future generations will thank us. Instead of paving over the land, let's commit to a sustainable future where all people in the community can enjoy and cherish this natural habitat. If we don't, this open space will be gone to us forever.

Please visit these blogs and websites to learn more about saving Hahamongna:


  1. You add a brilliant perspective, Susan. "Will people choose to live here because of a couple of soccer fields and large parking lots...?"

    I don't think so. Let's hope our leaders choose to be leaders.

  2. Lovely post. Each perspective has been just different enough to add a new dimension.

  3. When reading an interview by Fontana born Mike Davis (famous for his underbelly assessment of L.A. in City of Quartz) anyhow, I recall him saying that when he went in search of where to live, he looked at arial maps of the LA area. He chose a home near Eaton Canyon because that area had the densest tree cover.

    I'll introduce myself if I should run into you on the trails

  4. Great point about the future of Pasadena/Altadena. Thank you.

  5. Susan,
    Very eloquently written and expressed. I cringe when I see all the condos going up along La Jolla's coast. Reminds me of the words to one of Don Henley's songs - "The Last Resort."

    "Some rich men came and raped the land,
    Nobody caught 'em
    Put up a bunch of ugly boxes, and Jesus,
    people bought 'em
    And they called it paradise
    The place to be
    They watched the hazy sun, sinking in the sea."

    I think he was writing about California. It's definitely worth the fight.

  6. Great post.
    Bill Deverell, author of Whitewashed Adobe, shared the wonder he felt when he flew over Pasadena. The green of the area impressed him greatly.

  7. Susan, I love what you've written, thank you. And if I see Tommy in Hahamongna, I'll be sure to say hi to you.

  8. Thanks for all the supportive comments. I'm just back from Vermont and catching up on everyone's Hahamongna posts and comments. Such powerful and moving perspectives out there.

    Liz, thanks for sharing the lines from that song. Very apropos. Definitely sounds like California.

    Pasadena Adjacent and Bellis, hope to meet you out on the trails someday.

    Latino Heritage, I feel the same way about Pasadena. We're lucky to have so much green in the midst of LA sprawl.

    And thank you, Petrea, Karin, and Barbara, for creating Hahamongna blog day! It has made me believe we can make a difference.

  9. We live in Sierra Madre and have not heard of this issue yet. But will be looking into it and giving it our support!

  10. Daisy, I just learned about it from the blogging community myself. Glad I did, too. The more people who know about it and voice their opposition, the greater the chance they won't go through with it. Thank you for your support.

  11. Susan,

    Did you see that councilmember Haderlein called open-space advocates [us] "pigs" in today's Pasadena Star-News?

  12. Gina,
    Thanks for posting that link. I'm ... speechless. Seriously. I'm stunned at the blatant arrogance.

    Great reply from you. Those really are fighting words. I'm ready for battle.

  13. Hi Havisham! Thanks for dropping by.

    I agree: Hederline will get over it. Petrea made a good point, that his arrogant comment was just a distraction from the real issue. How true.

    Glad you contacted Chris Holden. Nice job.