The deep resilience of the redwood

A friend sent along an amazing and heartening story from the Washington Post, called Decoding the Redwoods. In short, to better understand the long-lived coast redwood, scientists in two different labs have been working to decode the species’ genome, which — astonishingly — is vastly larger than ours. The redwood genome project began in AprilContinue reading “The deep resilience of the redwood”

Trail signs along the PCT: Section Q

Just have to say that the trail signs in Section Q — the Marble Mountains — in the far north of California were the best (that is, most Zen) that I have seen along the length of California. They deserve remembering in their own right, so here goes: Next day I after about 5 orContinue reading “Trail signs along the PCT: Section Q”

The genius of a place: Vaclav Cilek

Mesmerized to have stumbled upon a Czech geologist/climatologist/essayist/philosopher of place, via the great Robert MacFarlane, quoted here. Vaclav Cilek sees the spirit of landscapes, or rather, sees the possibility of seeing the spirit, the true nature, the inner workings of landscapes (an idea with which he’s comfortable, having spent years cataloguing caves in and aroundContinue reading “The genius of a place: Vaclav Cilek”

The Lions of Ventura County

Let me post (with some pride) my cover story this week in the Ventura County Reporter, on mountain lions, which benefitted enormously from pictures donated to the cause of the cougar by the National Park Service. Here’s the cover: How could you not love P-19? And here’s the story. THE TRUTH ABOUT BIG CATS |Continue reading “The Lions of Ventura County”

David Foster Wallace thinks about nature

In his classic (and often hilarious) essay for Harpers on the Illinois State Fair from l993, Ticket to the Fair, David Foster Wallace ruminated on many questions, including how people see nature in the MidWest. He wrote: Rural Midwesterners live surrounded by unpopulated land, marooned in a space whose emptiness starts to become both physicalContinue reading “David Foster Wallace thinks about nature”

Stay on Trail: Jordan Fisher Smith on our Nat’l Parks Bday

Jordan Fisher Smith, who has an excellent new book out called Engineering Eden, (on the challenge of managing wild bears in places like Yellowstone and Yosemite), brings his experience as a naturalist, a ranger, and a writer to bear on the meaning of our parks in an essay in the author’s on-line magazine Signature Reads.Continue reading “Stay on Trail: Jordan Fisher Smith on our Nat’l Parks Bday”

A prayer for the earth: Pope Francis

On Valentine’s Day, one can’t overlook (well, one can, but shouldn’t) love for the earth from which we came. From “Praise Be” from Pope Francis, a prayer for the earth [passage 178]: A prayer for our earth All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures. You embraceContinue reading “A prayer for the earth: Pope Francis”

The birds of the Americas, passing thru

From the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, a map of the migration of 118 species of birds in the Western hemisphere: [On this map none of these species have reached Southern California yet; actually, a few have reached Ventura County, I think. Saw some chickadee like birds on a walk. Though I read that this hasContinue reading “The birds of the Americas, passing thru”

painting the desert at night: Eric Merrell

The Los Angeles Review of Books has been an absolute cornucopia of good essay writing as of late: so much so I can’t keep up. But still they outdid themselves last week with a gorgeous portriat of a young artist who likes to paint the desert at night, named Eric Merrell. Great stuff. Picture qualityContinue reading “painting the desert at night: Eric Merrell”

The Lost Brother — Latterly strikes again

To encourage interest and subscription, Latterly magazine, an on-line journal of stories from around the world, ┬árun by the wizardly editor Ben Wolford, released as a “single” a marvelously rich and well-written, well-edited, and well-composed story about life north of the Arctic Circle, on an island off the coast of Iceland. It’s called The LostContinue reading “The Lost Brother — Latterly strikes again”