About 40 minutes outside of Downtown LA, over the mountains and into the Mojave Desert is a small town named Acton; you can mention the name to people who live in the next town over, and they have no idea what you’re talking about, yet the town is home to countless stars.
Acton is the town I was born and raised in; a town so small that my graduating high school class of 1999 was about 100 students, and we shared the same campus as the junior high. Everyone knows each other, which as you can guess can be a horrible thing, but in times of need, everyone comes together.
The landscape is littered with tumble weeds, red dirt,
rocks boulders, cactus, wild flowers and mountains. Homes sit on no less than an acre of land each and almost every Actonian has a handful of horses (unless you’re my family.. we stick to dogs…). The amount of wildlife is highly concentrated, with daily appearances by rabbits, coyotes, quail, roadrunners, rattle snakes, lizards, mountain lions, random bears here and there and more. When my parents were building their house, a wild bull used to roam our property, which was awesome to see as a small 6-year-old child! Unlike the city, we experience snow, yet we also have insanely hot summers. Temperature differences between Acton and LA can be near 30 degree opposites at times, due to the surrounding mountains and higher elevations.
The one thing about Acton that sets the town apart from most places near LA: the stars. Not the famous stars as in celebrities, rather REAL stars. Anyone native to LA will tell you the light pollution and smog makes it damn near impossible to star gaze, yet a 40 minute drive to my hometown treats you with clear skies and amazing views of the stars and meteors.
What else is there to see or do in Acton? Nothing. Which is why growing up turned me into a traveler. It’s truly amazing how isolated the town is, yet so close to city life. Every day as I watched dried tumble weeds fly past my window, I became more and more obsessed with the thought of experiencing other parts of the world. It took years, but I eventually saved up enough money to take the two month Europe trip that not many others in Acton did, making me also appreciate my small town a little more upon my return. After all, it was awesome to come back home and actually see the stars in the night sky, but the feeling to leave never left.
So why am I writing about Acton? I am participating in the A to Z blog challenge, where I must write a post daily, with the first topic starting with the letter A. Not only does Acton start with A, but this also has the perfect timing to coincide with the launch of my California Love section of my blog. It seems fitting to start California Love with a post on my hometown and why it encouraged me to get out of it and see the rest of the state, and even the world for that matter.