Built to Last

A few days ago, I came upon a technique for preparing chicken. It was a fairly simple thing, butterflying chicken filets, and I hadn’t even been looking up how to do that (I don’t know what I had in my search term anymore, but it definitely contained the word ‘butterfly’). There were a few images.…

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Beneath the Sea

It always counts as a surprise when we find out that unexpected networks have been operating right under our collective noses. We use the word ‘discovery’ to describe the newness to our understanding, even if, in retrospect, it might be a bit like describing a city’s take-out food delivery system as a ‘discovery’ just because…

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Amidst the Madding Crowd

Fistral Beach near Newquay in Cornwall is mainly known for one thing: Surfing. The beach isn’t long, around a half a mile. But it is generally full. On a recent visit, we watched a constant stream of surfboard-lidded cars arrive at the end of the beachfront road where our friend there lives, turn, and look…

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Fewer Footprints

When we were out on the Pacific Coast in California a couple of weeks ago, two things in particular caught my attention: One was the lack of shorebirds, the skittering types that chase waves and scurry in tight huddles. Maybe it was just the wrong season. There were signs posted indicating that snowy plovers were…

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Fight, Flight, or Loll

We were out early at Drake’s Beach in West Marin, California, under changeable skies. It was low tide, and we were the only bipeds around – the parking lot completely empty, no stray campers or hikers, we had the place to ourselves, at least when it came to other humans. And while there were fewer…

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Covering Our Eyes

The main centers of the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) lay like a loose pearl necklace around the coastal edges of the nation. I’ve never been to any of the NASA sites, but I grew up watching them from a distance. As a child of the Sixties, the moon launches that took…

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Light Show

We’re north of Ensenada, Baja California, Mexico.   The place we’re staying is directly on a small beach. Well, ‘small’ is probably the wrong word.   It doesn’t have a poetic name, it doesn’t have majestic cliffs, it doesn’t have any fancy restaurants or hotels or activities.   It’s just a regular, small, coastal beach…

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Portrait of Living Wind

A century ago this month, the world’s last passenger pigeon (Ectopistes migratorius)¬†died in the Cincinnati Zoo, long¬†after the last passenger pigeon had been seen in the wild. The passenger pigeon, once populous beyond imagining, took only a century to disappear. It seems that more than one factor was responsible for the population decline and how…

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Water Falls

A crucible for past, present and future examples of extreme climate developments, the western part of the United States – and California in particular – continues to suffer under extreme drought conditions. Drought is nothing new in California. What’s new (or rather, not very old in geological terms) is a culture and economy built on…

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Beach Sandskrit

We were walking on Malibu beach yesterday as the tide was going out. It left behind a long tale of the previous few hours, written in seaweed and flotsam. I didn’t count how many different types of seaweed left their notes on the sand, but from the number of red lobster shells in the receding…

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