Living and Writing in the Natural World

Spring Gardens I have Known

April 23, 2013

“And now that’s done,” as Blind Pew said to Billy Bones. No, I haven’t been distributing black spots. Today I got the garden planted, and it feels good, aching knees and all. One and a half planting beds of tomatoes, weighted heavily to Early Girls; half a bed of basil; and three rows of okra. For me, my annual garden is, as they say of second marriages, the triumph of hope over experience. (more…)

Celebrating St. John's Birthday

April 17, 2013

April 21, this coming Sunday, is the birthday of John Muir. Appropriately enough, the next day is Earth Day. Muir, called the father of the American environmental movement, gave us two great gifts. First, he taught us that time in the natural world heals humans by connecting us to our roots. And second, he initiated (more…)

Washington, Jefferson, Madison: Founding Gardeners

April 10, 2013

We often assume that the environmental movement in America began with Henry David Thoreau and John Muir in the latter half of the 19th century, but a recent (2011) book by English author Andrea Wulf shows that the roots go further back—to Washington, Jefferson, Adams, and Madison, in fact. (more…)

Only the rain abides

April 3, 2013

I awoke night before last, sometime after midnight, the sound of spring rain pulling me up to consciousness—to a sleeper, it’s more of an echo or a vibration than anything, but I know it and it draws me. I got up and opened our bedroom sliding glass door and drank it in. The full sound now, composed of the rain hitting both the roof and the trees outside; and best of all the sweet smell of rain, not as pronounced tonight as I’ve smelled before, but still there, clean and intriguing.
Back in bed, I lay listening and smelling, the night “far too precious for sleep,” as Li Po said. Another poem came to mind, (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

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


Nothing here yet.

Selected Works

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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