How To Live in the Great American Desert

Mr. Pennington is right on target.

Beauty Disguises Our Drought



Walking our usual bird watching route along the perimeter of Shollenberger Park last evening the darkening sky created a lovely scene. But the silver etched edges of the pond’s low waterline were a beautiful reminder of how badly this part of California needs water.

New York’s “Too Damn Many People” Blues


The “Big Apple” can certainly be beautiful sometimes, especially at night when the lights of the traffic jams below me paint lovely colors on the streets. However, I find as I get older, I need space around me and New York, or any big city for that matter, just doesn’t have enough room. You can talk all  you want about its “exciting vibrancy”, to me they are code words for crowded as hell.


And that kind of crush can make some folks downright grumpy.


A Drop In Your Bucket


Think of it this way, there are approximately 363,360 drops of water in the average 4 gallon bucket. Therefor, taken by itself,  you’d think a drop doesn’t amount to very much.


Our blood is 83% water. 
Our brain is 75% water. 
Our muscles are 76% water. 
Our liver is 70% water. 
Our kidneys are 82% water. 
Our skin is 70% water. 
Our bones are 22% water. 
Even our fat is 20% water.

Climate change and lousy environmental practices are rapidly diminishing the earth’s drinkable water supply. 

That drop looks pretty good now, doesn’t it?

Don’t Walk Through Those Easy Barn Doors

The Open DoorAll my life I have had the tendency to “go with the flow” and follow the path of least resistance. After a lot of years doing things this way I am finally beginning to learn that when I make things easy on myself I often learn less and get inferior results. 

Take photography for instance.

Diane Arbus once said that when she takes a picture, “I work from awkwardness. By that I mean when I stand in front of something instead of arranging it, I arrange myself.”

I take that to mean she tries to let her subjects and their environment dictate what and how she photographs. She doesn’t walk through that all too easy barn door of composing things to suit herself.

Leaving yourself open to the lessons your surrounding can teach you is VERY good advice….and hard to do.

400 Steps Down


 400 steps down from this cliff’s edge is the Point Reyes Lighthouse clinging to the juxtaposition of Drakes Bay and the open Pacific Ocean. It’s one of the “must sees” of the Point Reyes National Seashore Park. The place is a testimony to courage and ingenuity show by early settlers protecting this rough, rocky, dangerous stretch of coastline.

Rough Rocky Sea

The cultural history of Point Reyes reaches way way back some 5,000 years to the Miwok Indians who were the first humans to inhabitant the area. Over 120 known village sites exist within the park. Sir Francis Drake is believed to have landed nearby in 1579.

Now in the 21st century the lighthouse no longer functions but the sea and the rocks remain as dangerous as ever.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Burning Off The Gas Is For The Birds


When we walk around the bird ponds at Shollenberger Park I usually take photographs of the many waterfowl found there. Ducks, geese, stilts, sandpipers and their kin throng to this area to nest and feed.

What I have never really talked about is that, while this area looks for all the world like a wildlife sanctuary, it is actually there thanks to the farsighted environmental planning of the Ellis Creek Water Plant. (Note: Back east we would call it the Petaluma Sewage Treatment Plant.)

The different wording here sheds light on how differently municipalities can approach the same problem. Back east we’d approach it as merely a sewage treatment problem. Here in California they approach it as water reclamation opportunity.

Hooray for the western approach.

Here is a link to what I am talking about. Enjoy!

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