It was a perfect day on July 18th, 2010, the kind of day on which the Manifest Destiny that led us to Southern California seemed determined to fulfill its promise, unfurling a crisp blue sky unmarred by cloud or haze. There was heat, sure, from the brilliant sun lighting every corner of the sprawling pitch, fresh and newly restored green after an early-summer blight brought on by prolonged dog-sitting, but it was tempered by a cool breeze bearing that distinctively salty sea air.
It was a day made for joy, for leisure, for flying a kite or laying out on a brightly-colored towel along with that Victorian-era novel you always meant to read but for which you could never quite find the time until now. But today was not a day for joy. It was a day for battle.