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Living and Writing in the Natural World

Dancing on the Edge of the World

I was at the Land’s End stretch of coast in San Francisco over the weekend, where the great westward push of Euro-Americans finally came to an end on our continent. It was as beautiful, and as exhilarating, as such an historic, game-changing place should be. And haunted by ghosts of the past and future.  Read More 
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The Adventure / Foolishness Balance

“I wonder what’s in that hole up there?” It was an innocent question from my hiking buddy Al as we gazed at the gaping cavity about ten feet up the trunk of a massive valley oak at the bottom of Big Sycamore Canyon on the Tejon Ranch Conservancy. Like many a testosterone-poisoned male of our species, I took it as a challenge, and  Read More 
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400 ppm and counting / "They endured" (Faulkner)

What mainly struck us as drove up the switchbacks climbing Mauna Loa on Hawaii’s Big Island in 1983 was how cold it was. Heather and Holly were attired for the beach when we started, but were jumping around to keep warm as their dad made them see the dull, scientific buildings at the 13,679 foot summit. In the distance to the north,  Read More 
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Canyons I Have Known

I returned yesterday from a road trip with my buddy Al, which might have been called “Small-town Mexican restaurants of south-central California” or “800 country miles of nature preserves along the San Andreas Fault.” So many of our miles were on little-traveled county or state roads that on day three we drove 250 miles and saw exactly ten vehicles (though thousands of Beechey ground squirrels, Brush rabbits, and red-tailed hawks). This was the day we ate lunch at a diner straight out of 1950s Oklahoma (Al had chicken-fried steak,  Read More 
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Heart on course, Head wandering

On Earth Day early last week, California redwood cloned saplings supplied by an outfit called Archangel Ancient Tree Archive were planted in California, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Iceland, Canada, and Germany. Five months earlier, the group planted California redwoods and giant sequoias on the coast in southern Oregon. Their goal is to reforest the planet with redwoods and sequoias to preserve the ancient trees, soak up carbon as they grow, and save the planet from global warming. What could possibly go wrong with such a noble project?
Plenty, as it turns out.  Read More 
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