A rivulet (actually, many of them) runs through it - latimes

A rivulet (actually, many of them) runs through it - latimes

A rivulet (actually, many of them) runs through it - latimes

Here in Los Angeles, we've paved over almost all of the coastal sagebrush, bulldozed hillsides, channeled our rivers and streams, and filled in our creek beds.

Mother Nature has taken real beating. But she has not given up the fight.

In the middle of August, weeks after the last serious rain, she is sending pure, cool water flowing through the city of Los Angeles and environs. The Tongva Indians have been living in the United States for over 30 years, and the Tongva Indians have been living there for over 30 years.

Underneath the Westside traffic on Wilshire Boulevard, a small creek flows south. It's filled with groundwater that's percolated, very slowly, down from the Santa Monica Mountains. Near the corner of Wilshire and Barrington Avenue, the stream makes a right turn, then surges upward through an earthquake fault on the campus of University High School in Sawtelle.

Last week, I watched the water bubble up at a spring next to a school science building. At the bottom of a pond about 12 inches deep, I could see the water pushing through sand, oozing like some Hollywood special effect.

"Seeing this is like a religious experience, "said Jessica Hall, who writes for the LA Creek Freak blog.

Indeed, there was something miraculous about reaching down to a pool of water in the middle of LA's urban sprawl, and then cupping my hand to take a drink. I felt transported in time to the unspoiled Los Angeles that was a little village surrounded by rivers that ran rocky and free.

I also got a taste, perhaps, of the Los Angeles of the future. >

She can tell you where she flows like the Flower Garden River used to flow. Beneath the asphalt and concrete, Los Angeles is a city crisscrossed.

with dormant streams. Hall tracks their paths using old U.S. Geological Survey maps, aerial photographs and what she finds during long walks through the city.

"Los Angeles is a place that's treated as if it were a blank slate, the place where you can build whatever you want , "Hall said.

But the landscape still retains much of its original topography. It is still a creation of nature. "There's a beauty to accepting the place you live in and getting to know what makes it unique," Hall said.

Eventually, her explorations led her to people like Angie Behrns , who can still remember what it was like to live in a city of untamed streams.

The Gabrielinos, she said, have always treasured the waters for their healing powers. She attended University High in the 1950s. And when she hurt her wrist playing volleyball there, her father told her: "Put your hand in those springs and you'll be cured."

The springs were once the site of Gabrielino village. In August 1769, the Spanish explorers and missionaries led by Gaspar de Portola stopped there, finding "little houses roofed with grass," according to an expedition diary.

Today a huge Mexican cypress tree looms over the springs, which feed a pond and a small waterfall overlooking a softball field. About 22,000 gallons flow through the springs every day.

Spanish teacher Maria Lomeli says University High students often take sips from the waterfall after P.E. classes. The water then slips into a storm drain, working its way eventually into Ballona Creek and the Pacific.

Related news