Monday, January 25, 2010


The rains have been steady, with various degrees of intensity, for several weeks now. Some days are so dark, the interior lights need to be turned on even at midday. And while I've written before about our water supply worries and the dry hazards of California, we also bear the hazards of too much wet. We do have seasons here, contrary to some visitors from elsewhere; they just look different than yours.

As so often happens, our dry season gets taken for granted when the time comes to get started on construction. Mendocino College has plans underway for an expanded facility here in Willits. They have either purchased or leased property at the former Little Lake Industries complex, and began excavations late last fall. Here, you see the foundation hole, filled with water and fenced for safety. Further work will have to wait a while...

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Winter Waterway

The local streams are blessedly full with water this winter. But it seems wherever in the world there are shopping carts, one or two can be found cast into a waterway.

People who lived in Little Lake Valley fifty or so years ago say these creeks used to be filled with spawning salmon, when the season was right. The distances those fish would swim upstream from the sea, at the mouth of the Eel River, just astonishes me. How could we so degrade such a magnificent natural system, once capable of feeding entire human tribes?

Friday, January 1, 2010


It refreshes the soul to look at the first day of January as a new beginning. I've heard that the concept of perpetual fresh slates, even late in life, is a noted peculiarity of American culture. But I can't help but think all humanity hopes for a better day, a "cleansing of sins", and the opportunity to reach for our better selves even to our last breath. My heart goes out to all who seek peace and justice in the world, at home and abroad.

At Christmas, my mom and I took a walk in part of the woods where understory fires were lit last summer to control the perimeter of the larger, hotter wildfires coming close to her home. The profusion of young green shoots at the base of the scorched redwoods holds the promise of a better future to come.

Happy New Year!