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San Bernardino, San Beautiful

San Bernardino has a reputation in the media for being an ugly place. This is true in many ways. But the belief that San Bernardino is ugly betrays the beauty it does have to offer. I have always had a fascination with nature, but I have also lived in San Bernardino my whole life. San Bernardino offers a unique natural environment, one constantly overlooked.

The sun rises out of the eastern mountains at dawn. The city is encompassed by the San Bernardino Mountain Range. This mountain range has existed for millions of years; formed by the San Andreas Fault. Of note is the Arrowhead, a natural rock formation that resembles an arrowhead.

San Bernardino is at the border of the Mojave Desert. The climate in the valley is that of chaparral. However, despite California’s current drought, San Bernardino, so far, has been impacted the least. Why? There is a massive underground lake underneath San Bernardino. In some places the lake is so close to the surface that one can dig not three feet deep and reach the lake.

San Bernardino is home to a large variety of flora and fauna, from coyotes to kangaroo rats, from douglas fir to prickly-pear cactus. This newly hatched mourning dove chick is shaded from the blazing sun by its mother. In a month, it will have to leave the nest and join its parents’ flock. All life has to grow hardy in the desert, but it doesn’t have to grow alone.

In the summer, orioles migrate from Mexico to the U.S. southwest. It is common to see these bright orange birds foraging in our backyards. Many migratory birds pass through San Bernardino during their migrations. This is likely due to its location; indeed, San Bernardino has been used by many as crossroads, being that it is one hour away from Los Angeles, one hour away from Big Bear, and three hours away from Las Vegas. It is feasible to watch the sunrise while snowboarding in the mountains and watch the sunset while surfing in the ocean all in one day, thanks to San Bernardino being such a centralized area of Southern California.

San Bernardino may not be the best place in the world, but to say San Bernardino is ugly would simply be wrong.

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