You have heard me complain

Often enough

About all that was lost

Leaving the San Fernando Valley,

So today,

I want to contemplate

What we have gained.

We gained silence in the night

As there are no airplanes flying overhead

Throughout the day and night,

Because Burbank Airport was ten miles away

And we were in the flight pattern;

Here, at night, you can see stars

And everything is relatively quiet

Except for the occasional bark of a dog

Or a motorcycle speeding up or down the street;

We have gained having family close by

And the comfort of having a son drop in

Almost every day after work

And having grandchildren nearby.

We have gained a neighborhood,

Much as I loved Arleta, heart and soul,

It can’t compare with the small town

Atmosphere of Quartz Hill,

Where all the local merchants are smiling

And friendly,

Where I can be at the post office, the Vet’s

or my manicurist, the library or the dry cleaner’s,

The garden shop and many other stores

Within a few minutes.

A traffic jam in Quartz Hill

is when children being picked up

at the Elementary School, the middle school

or the high school l by their parents

And if I want to go to the mall,

It’s about ten minutes away,

Compared to Northridge all

Which was a half hour drive

Each way, because of all the traffic;

I have only to drive to the San Fernando

Valley and encounter the heavy traffic

To appreciate being in an area where

There is only one freeway.

There is virtually no smog, here

In the high desert

And very little fog,

Days are mostly sunny,

And there are many wide open spaces,

Empty fields filled with Joshua trees

And wildflowers.

We have gained a great deal

But most importantly,

I have a home of my own.

Don’t get me wrong –

I loved the Arleta house

And still do,

But with what I have lost

Much has been gained.


Sandra Lee Smith, 2010


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