Several years ago I bought a tape deck. The manufacturer must have employed a poetic writer, for its instructions described the nature of non-sound as it relates to the music machine's performance with the sentence, "Silence is an important part of music."
"Yes," I thought, "silence is an important part of life."
It may be a feeble analogy, but the idea that nothingness has value relates, I think, to the Laguna Canyon issue.
Caltrans wants to cut a wider slice--i.e., a many-laned modern highway--through the pastoral canyon. I suppose they have reasons for wanting a faster, broader thoroughfare to the little art colony by the sea: All the better to arrive at impassable, imparkable Laguna Beach. The Laguna City Council recently voted their unanimous desire: Leave it alone.
I know Laguna Canyon has many special things--wildlife and lakes, for instance--but its specialness, particularly in cement-layered Southern California, is not what it has but rather what it has not. It has lovely nothingness; it has the silence that a civilization needs to punctuate its ever-increasing noise.