By MN Gordon
A Date with Dracula
The gray hue of dawn quickly slipped to a bright clear sky as we set out last Saturday morning. The season’s autumn tinge abounded around us as the distant mountain peaks, and their mighty rifts, grew closer. The nighttime chill stubbornly lingered in the crisp air.
“Who lives in yonder castle?” Harker asked. “Pardon, Sire?” Up front in the driver’s seat it was evidently hard to understand what was said over the racket made by the team of horses that drew their carriage over the Transylvanian collection of pot holes the natives quite audaciously referred to as a “road”. In fact, the thunderous clackety-clack of their hooves was slightly unnerving, not to mention the unsafe speed at which they were moving. “I said, who lives in yonder castle?”, Harker repeated, shouting this time. “Oh!”, Igor said, nodding (Igor was their coachman). “Why Sire, is castle of Count Orlok, of course”. Of course. Good thing we are about to visit Count Dracula and not Count Orlok, Harker thought. “Better known as Count Dracula”, Igor continued, still nodding, as though it needed to be emphasized. Crap. “So which is his real name?” Harker inquired, still shouting. “Depends on who you ask, Sire”, Igor informed him, “Murnau says…” Suddenly, a piercing sound rang in Harker’s ears. It was the howl of a wolf, coming from somewhere in the woods to their left. It could hardly have been louder if the wolf had been sitting in the coach right next to him. Good grief. What’s next? To Igor he said, “Do you have lots of wolves here?” “Wolves?” Igor repeated, his tone of voice indicating mild concern. “Where wolves?” Why am I not surprised. “You have werewolves? Are there any horrors you don’t have in this shit-hole of a country?” And so it went… [PT]
Like Jonathan Harker’s journey to Transylvania roughly 120 years ago, we also traveled eastward. Our route, however, did not take as through Vienna and Budapest. Nor did it take us upward into the Carpathian Mountains.
Instead, we traversed along the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, passing from the Angeles National Forest to the San Bernardino National Forest. Then we climbed upward to the mile-high Oak Glen village, up above the outermost rim of the Los Angeles Basin. We had finally outrun Southern California’s seemingly endless sea of concrete.
At this mountain hamlet, we didn’t witness a single stoplight or franchise drive-thru. Billboards, transmission lines, rail corridors, and graffiti art did not blight the countryside. The built milieu hardly scarred the natural landscape.
There was only a windy narrow mountain road and a smattering of apple orchards, which filled the gentle slopes that nestle between the larger and steeper topographic terrain. Upward we climbed, to where the pine woods canopied across the roadway and the sparse clouds danced to the glint of the sunlight.
Like Harker, our destination had a very specific intent. We had a date with Dracula.
Left: Count Orlok opens the door to say hello. At first glance …read more
Source:: Acting Man