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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Floor of Sand, Roof of Water

When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time (every possible minute) on the beaches of California. And one of my favorite activities was to run after the receding waves as far as I dared,, right up to where they were beginning another forward surge, and then turn and sprint back to safety.…

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Rethinking Country Mouse, City Mouse

There was a period of my youth when my family lived ‘off-grid’ for the most part, in wood cabins on the forested coast of northern California. There were parts of that experience I didn’t like – hauling water by hand was certainly low on my list of preferences – but one aspect I liked very…

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Branched Embrace

I spent a large part of my youth living deep in a forest that was relatively untamed, a temperate rainforest of bay laurel and Coastal live oak on the Inverness Ridge in California, part of the Point Reyes Peninsula north of San Francisco. There are large stands of Bishop pine and Douglas fir on the…

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Almond Dilemma

I was in our local French supermarket the other day when I spied some packages of California almonds. Now, the usual almonds we get around here are from Turkey or Israel, and they taste just fine, but I grew up around California almonds in California, so in a moment of expat nostalgia, I bought a…

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Old Water Ways

These satellite images show winter snow levels in California in early 2013, when the state was already experiencing drought conditions, and in 2014, when the state is officially in the worst drought on record. Much of the annual fresh water in the state is the result of snow melt. California is no stranger to the…

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Spherical Feast

Massive anchovy swarms off the coast of California have kept marine mammals and their observers busy for the past couple of months. It’s not so much that there are more anchovy than usual, it’s that there are more anchovy gathered in one place. According to this article, anchovy movement can be due to a number…

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Freshwater Wave

Growing up in California, which has always been a place of regular droughts, one of the first things you learn is that water can be a precious commodity. One of the things you don’t always learn is how to use it wisely. There always seems to be either too much, too little, it’s just not…

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Torrey Pine

I’m having one of those expat moments today, and find myself feeling a little homesick for my own native habitat of the California coast, so I thought I’d write about one of my favorite trees that grows only there. The rarest known wild pine tree in the North America is the Torrey Pine (Pinus torreyana),…

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