Thursday, January 30, 2014


I'm not sure why I even want to write about this, but I do. It seems so compelling to me. What do you think? 

On Wednesday January 22rd my niece arrived at her job in Beverly Hills only to discover that the parking lot was cordoned off by police tape. Mmmm. Very strange. So she found another parking place and went to work. When she got to her office, she saw everyone was looking out the window to the building across the street. There atop the 15 story building was a naked woman who the police had been trying to talk down for an hour already. The woman paced and paced. She sat with her feet dangling over the edge. My niece and her co-workers watched, clicked photos on their cell phones, one even shot a video. After two more hours of the police talking with the distraught woman, she finally stood up. Everyone in the office was relieved. They thought she had been talked down. Instead, the woman literally flew into the air and flung herself to her death. Everyone was shocked and devastated. (It was later learned that the woman was a very generous and socially-conscious socialite who had been in the building the day before for a routine "nip and tuck" by a famous plastic surgeon. She spent the night in the facility where her caregivers noticed she was quite agitated. She may have been having a psychotic "post-operative neural-behavioral disturbance.") 
Then, on Friday January 24th a dear friend and her daughter went to the coast to watch the waves. The surf contest Mavericks was being held in Half Moon Bay right up the road about 50 miles north. There the waves were 40 feet, but where my friend was in Santa Cruz they were 10 feet, still mighty and crashing. In the late afternoon surfers were hanging out in the big waves, and a lone boogie boarder came into the water. He managed to get himself into a precarious situation where the ocean slams into the steep curved rocks. Several people on the cliffs called 911 to alert them to this boogie boarder's problem. Three rescue people came and talked to the guy. He waved them off. So they left. A short while later, the boogie boarder got into a place where he could not get out. The waves slammed him over and over into the rocks. People on the cliffs were shouting to him, telling him to duck under, to try and save himself. Everyone was frantic. The man could not be saved. All those watching, watched him drown. 

These two stories have been on my mind. Two people I love were witness to two amazingly random moments of horrific death. It made me think about what I would do in such a situation. Could I watch a drama like this unfold? If I could not help in any way, could I still watch? Roger and I have talked about this. He thinks he could watch and also felt that he would watch so that the person could be gazed upon with open-hearted compassion. I believe that. I feel that in my heart. But I know I would have to run away and not see the end unfold. I don't know. What would you do? What would you do?

Monday, January 20, 2014

The Difference Between Two Winters

 This is what the Yuba River looked like December 6, 2012.
 This is what it looked like January 20, 2014.
 December 6, 2012
January 20, 2014

The Governor declared a state of drought emergency last Friday. And as he has said, he can declare a drought, but he can't make it rain. Ain't that the truth. Here in California we only ever get rain in the winter. December is typically the wettest month. The average rainfall for December is 10.32 inches (26.2 cm), for January is 8.38 inches (21.3). We have had .57 inches (1.4 cm) of rain in December, and so far less than half of that in January, and there is absolutely no rain on the horizon.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Drought and Drizzle

It rained on Saturday, less than a quarter inch (.635 cm). That was it. Sunny days on the horizon as far as the eyes can see, and they can see pretty far through our relentlessly clear skies. Our governor is trying to decide whether to formally declare a drought. But as with everything else, that decision is fraught with political ramifications. Our rainless reality is no measure for the nuance of language and politics.

We did appreciate even this slight precipitation. It probably did not reduce the fire risks or replenish any aquifer, but it's better than no rain at all. The trees were glistening Sunday morning with beautiful reflective drops of rain on their leaves and needles. There was even a bit of iridescence in the few clouds that remained after the rains.
This photo was taken just two minutes after the top pic.
It's been so long since we've had a rain, I had forgotten how the water evaporates from the trees in the early morning sunlight. I had gone out to photograph the sparkling sunlight in the trees and noticed the evaporating mist on the cedars. Then, this happened.

Such a beautiful phenomenon, the trees casting their shadows on the mist of evaporation. Even a little bit of rain produces some pretty fine moments.

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Common Mergansers

A quiet start to the new year. The temps are warm and there's been no rain. The deer are coming around a couple of times a day, looking for bird seed. We saw these Common Mergansers the other day on the little local reservoir. Their wake creates an innocent reflection of the drought in our cloudless blue skies.