John Cowper came to know California pretty well for he often came for lectures and even lived there a whole year, (Sept. '22 to August '23) but he never really felt comfortable either in San Francisco or in Los Angeles. He had written in 1917 that it was 'the country of banality and sunshine', (and as we know he feared both), 'it must be like Australia'.
Thousand Oaks, Calif.
(Photo Sophie Borderieux)

California, 1922

    I hate this damned place, for I so long for the country - for real trees, for real falling leaves, for real mud, for real grass. Invented! All California is invented, I say invented! I took the car to the Beach - it was more awful than words can say! I thought can this be sand and are these real waves, made of salt-water older than cities, and is that red thing actually the setting sun?
    (San Francisco, 7 November 1922, Letters to His Brother Llewelyn)
    But I helped an old woman drive heifers thro' a fence out there, and heard ducks quacking in a backyard, and saw a couple of hawks, and a rainbow opposite a sunset, and the straight line of the ocean, like a purple tight-rope between hills. And I met lots of separate groups of drifting children in that out-lying district going for milk to a great white-washed dairy farm.
    (San Francisco, 3 December1922, Letters to His Brother Llewelyn)
    I felt rather lonely on the day they call over here Thanksgiving Day - I expect all foreigners feel most out of it on national holidays. My chief difficulty in San Francisco is to find anywhere to walk. Finally I discovered a quiet Cemetery where the dead were more sympathetic than usual; because most of them, like myself, were foreigners from the old lands.
    (San Francisco, 6 December 1922, Letters to Sea-Eagle)

I am in a room high up above the old San Francisco Fair-ground and beyond & can see the horizon of the Pacific towards China. The Chinese here are so wise and calm and gentle - they are almost the only gentlemen in America...they have beautiful faces...and if you are a vegetarian they are very pleased and cook wonderful dishes for you... The darkness is now coming on over the Golden Gate and the bay and over the Fair-ground and over a queer broken pillar with an Indian on it holding a bow - aimed at Space - (24 February 1922 - Letters to Sea-Eagle)