Living and Writing in the Natural World

Huck Finn in California

October 28, 2012

As I bicycled under the arched Valley Oak trees in the park yesterday, watching the gold and russet leaves twirling to the ground, I felt like a boy on an adventure. The seasons are changing, and I was abroad navigating the changing world. The child-like sense of wonder is one of the most precious gifts we receive as we move through the natural world. Certainly John Muir was sensitive to this wonder, and nothing better illustrates this than his incredible adventures in the fall of 1877. (more…)

What Muir Knew and We've Forgotten

October 22, 2012

Sticks, hat, and 40 pounds of trouble
As my wife accompanied me on morning walks preparing me for an upcoming backpacking trip this summer, I entertained us by singing a boyhood song, heard on TV’s Lawrence Welk show (yes, I’m that old): “I love to go a-wandering, my knapsack on my back. And when I go a-wandering, this is the song I sing: fol-do-ral, fol-do-ree, fol-do–" Well, you get the idea, and maybe even know the song. During the actual trip, I had occasion to be reminded of one very crucial word of that song, much to my dismay. (more…)

The magic of the night

October 15, 2012

First the owl—probably a great-horned—whooshing over the car in the darkness. Then an opossum on the side of the road, debating between irrigation ditch and asphalt as I bore down on him. By the time the young black-tailed jackrabbit loped across the road, I was remembering a lifetime of night-time adventures in the natural world, and the magical spells often accompanying these dark moments. (more…)

Coming of Age, for all Ages

October 6, 2012

It was billed as a “coming of age” ceremony for Kai, but it turned out to be a reminder for any age (and gender) of what it means to be a human. We gathered—the father/son hike gang, but other friends of Kai and his dad Richard as well—at the Headwaters Outdoors School (HWOS) at the base of Mt. Shasta. Think of Lothlorien, but in northern California. (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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