Last Night I Ran Into A Posada

At the office late last night, I wasn’t able to hop on the my bike and head home until around 8:30 p.m. At that late hour the pitch-dark Ballona Creek Bikeway is at both its most ominous and most tranquil and I roll it inland from the Mar Vista Gardens projects to Culver City, encountering nothing but the occasional creek cat. Up to Venice Boulevard I pass Crank Mob Park (more commonly known as Media Park) and the cyclists who’ve gathered there for their weekly Taco Tuesday group ride. A young fixie rider sees me go by in my Santa-hatted helmet and decorated ride and catches me at National to ask if I’m coming along. Tacos sound tempting but I tell him nah, I’m heading away from a long day. He shrugs and splits off before I even get a chance to say merry christmas.

I get onto the cut-through I make across the south end of the Crestview neighborhood, passing under the 10 freeway where the RVs park for the night, powered by their gas generators going full blast and amplifying off the concrete walls and ceiling like monster lawn mowers. There are no holiday decorations on these mobile homes.

A right on Cadillac (traffic-free, which is a rare gift unto itself!) and a left on Garth and that’s when I hear the slow, dirge-ish sounds of the brass and drums and at the north end of the block all I see is the silhouette of a street-filling crowd. It is a posada and its members march slowly southbound carrying either candlesticks or fresh flowers behind the band and a banner. I could have detoured onto the sidewalk and kept going, but instead respect and curiosity pulls me to a stop at the curb out of their way. Some might say they moved by joylessly but I see it more as a humble and pious affair. After all, as I understand it, Christmas posadas are essentially an enactment of Joseph and Mary’s search for lodging. A somber and soulful journey, indeed.

Be it an inn in-town or the in-laws out of state, here’s hoping wherever you’re going sees you there safe and sound.