Living and Writing in the Natural World

The rhythm of the autumn equinox

September 27, 2012

This past week saw one of the High Holy Days of a Taoist year or, indeed, the year of anyone attuned to the rhythms of the planet upon which we are privileged to reside. I celebrated the Autumnal Equinox by spending most of the mornings of September 21 and 22 bicycling along the Arkansas River which runs through my hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma. I was visiting to celebrate (more…)

What the Grass Revealed

September 18, 2012

A helpful label in the grass
I had just returned from my "short spin" around the park on my mountain bike today, and it was time to do some yardwork. I cut back the summer's growth of mint in the back yard and put water on it, to encourage sweet new growth. (You have a mint patch also, don't you? How else can one have mojitos at home throughout the summer? It's one of the basic necessities of life, just like having a mountain bike for spins and a large family tent for camping. Basic.) Then mowed the backyard (with my electric mower, probably the last one in Chico, maybe on the continent). As I was gathering up the cord and admiring the elegant way it snaked through the grass, I saw something else in the grass, something (more…)

Staying connected to what matters

September 13, 2012

John Muir would escape from his writing (which he hated) in his winters in San Francisco by taking a ferry east or west to the Oakland/Berkeley hills or Mt. Tamalpais and spend the day "rambling". Upon his return he would have an armful of flowers which he distributed to eager street urchins as he took the hill to his Taylor Street room with long strides and a lightened heart.
Like Muir, we all need to take time to stay connected to the natural world, hopefully as a daily or near-daily jaunt. Four or five times a week I get on my bicycle and head for Bidwell Park in my hometown of Chico. My route depends on how much time I have. Yesterday I only had 30 or 40 minutes, so I took (more…)

Guardian spirits in a Sequoia grove, High Sierra

September 6, 2012

Leaning against a giant sequoia much wider than my tent
Watching the recent full moon, I was reminded of the previous one, which I spent camped under a 22-foot wide Sequoia tree thinking of the last scene of the second act of Humperdinck's 1893 Opera "Hansel and Gretel," where the guardian angels are flowing down the ramp and protecting the forest-dwelling kids.

I had parted company the day before from the other nine members of our annual Father/Son backpacking trip into the High Sierras. (more…)
Sierra Buttes of the metamorphic, Mesozoic Sierra Nevada range

Infamous trail marker, New Mexico

"Bon voyage" to the backpacking daughter

emerald waters of Colorado River's Black Canyon

Immature White Ibis, coming into adult color

"Fierce and cruel alligators appear to us, but beautiful in the eyes of God. They, also, are his children." --John Muir

Hometown of 4077th MASH Company Clerk

The view from a sea cave

Man and Best Friend, Bennie

2,425 feet of "songs that bear pureheaven in every note"

Sun rising behind over-optimistic paddler, San Pablo Bay

Tomales Bay: North America plate on the right, Pacific plate on the left--and San Andreas Fault immediately below!

Corner room of Mt. Vernon Inn's restaurant. The Colonial Hoecake is not to be missed.

Georgia O'Keeffe's "Chama River" near Ghost Ranch entrance

Ortega showroom, Chimayo

A typical collection of urchins from Puako in the old days, before their return to the tidepool

Harbor seal on a redwood log, Big River

Darwin Falls, up Darwin Wash in Death Valley's Argus Range

Steinbeck and Ricketts pal Frank Wright (right) at Cannery Row

"What? You never seen an otter use a rock?"

Saint John, from wjpstudios.com

One of Monet's famous water lilies

The newest Sherlock

Eagerly awaited harbingers of spring

Zhou Minzhen, Barnett, Ye Duzhuang at Peking Man Cave

Julia Morgan's "Hearthstone" at Humboldt Redwoods State Park

Do you think the females will like my chain, guys?

40 feet of falling water at Glen Aulin

AJ, Kyle in monsoon at Emei Mt

Young John Muir

Whitney looms behind Ash, Maya

The young Charles Darwin

lunar new year festivities

Courtenay-Latimer's 1938 sketch

Marjorie Courtenay-Latimer

A son and Half dome in snow

Celebrating the harvest, S.F. style

40.5 lbs of trouble

A helpful label

Father, Son under Hamilton Dome

Camping among the sequoias

Fathers and sons at Bearpaw Meadow

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Selected Works

Nonfiction
His journals reveal a hidden Muir, whose radical worldview challenges
Taoism reveals simple habits for health and balance in our modern lives
Classics Revisited
Long John Silver and Jim Hawkins stumble upon ancient Chinese treasure
Sherlock Holmes discovers his brother has been murdered by a Nazi spy on the eve of D-Day
Historical Fiction
Murder and passion during the 1948 Communist siege of Peking
Nuclear war looms as China demands the return of Taiwan
A Virginian finds romance in Korea as Chinese and Japanese armies battle, 1895

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