We Protect What We Love

I have worked before with Dyane Sherwood, the publisher of Fruits of Eden: Napa Valley 1991-2021 (which is currently being typeset. Dancing Raven Press, an imprint of Analytical Psychology Press).  I know her propensity to mix visual imagery with the written word, a process quite different from the written word alone. “Take pictures of the… Read more »

Guardians

Mishewah Wappo descendent Alyx Howell said that his people call poison oak “guardian oak” and, as a result, have a better relationship with the plant. When you call it guardian oak, you are less likely to get an itchy rash. Alyx knows stories about the oaks that I have not heard from any other source. … Read more »

A Fantistical Opossum Story

The story starts with taking out the trash about 8:15 pm Wednesday, an unusual thing for me to do. In fact, when have I taken out the trash in the evening? It involves driving the 3/4 mile driveway to the trash cans at Dry Creek Road, and who in their right mind would do that… Read more »

Go-Bags and Exit Plans: Navigating the New Normal

The ranch is fresh green, the Mexican daisies and Spanish lavender in full bloom, and the birds courting. We’ve had a fraction of our average seasonal rainfall. I find it harder to enjoy the brilliance of April, one of the most verdant months here. The valley oak leaves are large and still that first green-gold…. Read more »

Arrival of the Beloved Dog, Bramble Berry

We picked up our labradoodle Bramble Berry three years ago this week, on April 16, 2018. He was just 8 weeks old. He arrived at a difficult time for us, with several challenges initiating me into overseeing everything my husband Donald used to do as his health declined. Donald and I drove to Fair Oaks,… Read more »

Lineage of the Christmas Stocking

My cousin, about the age of my mother, knitted the stockings for my younger sister Judy and me when we were very young, and I have knitted the same pattern stocking for each of my children, their wives, and their children. When my daughter-in-law Melissa, Grace’s aunt, reminded me that it was time to start… Read more »

Wind–and Fire

This latest round of fires began in the early hours Sunday. I wrote this that morning before the flames would spread over the mountains east and west. As I write, we are notified yet another red flag warning may be issued tomorrow.  We are all on alert. Yes, this is climate change, California style. It… Read more »

Art and Land-Use

Casey and I ran across the stone one late autumn day in 2016 as we were hiking the trails of Austin Park in Napa. We stopped in surprise, examining a   haiku pasted to its side. “grass greens bright/long slow drizzle/ flowers prepare to POP”.  We photographed the stone and continued down the trail. Just… Read more »

Reflections on Ancestral Home While Sheltering In Place

My ancestral home, which my great grandfather had built in the late 1800s after a year of a good corn crop, was situated on two, park-like acres. A man named Botoner built the East Lake style house with its five bedrooms, kitchen, dining room (always used as a living room), and parlor. The kitchen was… Read more »

Masking up for Earth Day 2020

A dear high school friend makes a Facebook dare: Post a picture of yourself in a mask. Her smiling eyes peer over her navy blue, star-studded mask, her head wrapped in a scarf. She is currently undergoing chemotherapy but her spirit sparkles. I scroll down. There are men and women, all of a certain age,… Read more »