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Hugh Lofting
Dr. Dolittle in Topanga Canyon 

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Community Clearing

Community Clearing 

When the canyon roads out to the world are blocked by mudslides, as occurred during the recent severe rain storms, the sense of the word community reaches new heights. I was reminded of how unique this place is in terms of truly capturing the essence of the sense of the word community, when x. I watched our local Topangans take their shovels to the mud after an LA County’s plow truck drove away after a failed first attempt to clear the road. These residents came ​​together, literally moving boulders in a three-foot-deep mud bath. 

I watched one of Topangan’s eldest family members, Mr. Jimmy Wiley, roar around the corner in his personal tractor plow, clearing the road of the swamp of mud, making the job look like a walk in the park. I watched the effectiveness in the simplicity of manual labor bring a whole new meaning to the ‘labor of love’ sentiment. 

We watched and cheered on as Mister Wiley maneuvered the tractor like a cowboy charging bulls cleaning up the undeniable forces of nature we embrace by living here on her land. I watched friends walk along Old Topanga delivering pizzas by foot. I watched kids treasure hunt for old fossils uprooted by all the rains, revealing the many layers of history this canyon encompasses. 

Who would have thought watching a tractor clear hunks of boulders, gallons of mud, and dead trees could be so gratifying. But there a bunch of us stood marveling at the strength of our community pitching in to open the floodgates (no pun intended, please no) to free the canyon of its landlock.  

Topanga, your community shined and reminded me of why I moved here in the first place. 

Here is some raw and muddy footage of our community coming together to clear the mudslide blocking Old Topanga Canyon Road.

Community clearing the road in Old Topanga Canyon. Photo by Lauren Purves

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