It’s a dead river or merely a flow of water containing industrial discharge. I see endless blocks of concrete and the unpleasant odor causes me some headache. Since the concrete landscape is so straight and uniform, I get no sense how far I’ve come and it’s eerily quiet. I’ve seen only a few people wandering around. The shallow water in strange color doesn’t seem to flow at all.
Suddenly I hear water flowing through the greens ahead of me. Since the border between the concrete and the greens is so clear, it looks like a mirage in the desert. The shopping carts in the greenish murky water, the blue herons flying between wastes and dead trees, all kinds of vegetation submerged in the water that reminds me of Southern river landscapes all confuse me. The ever-changing landscapes seem to try to tell me something poignant and forgotten.
The images of Los Angeles River that many people associate with might be graffiti, pollution and Hollywood action movies. Although much part of the river is being used to transport industrial discharge, some limited parts of the river maintain clean water, vegetation and wildlife.
What surprised me was not the green part of the river, but the oddly clear distinction between the polluted parts and the greens that keeps confusing my eye along the river’s bike path. Since the state of California has been suffering from extreme drought for years, water scarcity has been one of the most discussed topics in the state. Currently a 20 year-long revitalization plan led by non-profit organizations and government agencies is underway and the plan, if comes true, will change the whole landscape of the city, offering much improved environment for people and wildlife as well as new opportunities for many industries.