Category Archives: Ranch Life

Wild and Precious

I walked through the canyon this morning in its after-storm chaos. The creek is now a muddy, roaring river, strewn with big chunks of debris. I contemplated crossing where it tumbles over the road by the neighbors’ house, but I … Continue reading

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Wide Open Day

Rain has returned, and in a good way, with intermittent breaks. I’ve been walking up the muddy canyon, listening to the yearned-for liquid sound of running creeks. Everything is green again, and flowing, and growing, and the world is urging … Continue reading

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In A Cave, Story-Talking

This is Mr. Brownell, and if you had him as a teacher, you were a lucky kid. He always knew that the best classroom of all was the great outdoors, and that the old hands-on skills and fundamental values were … Continue reading

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Change

My mother-in-law Nancy planted the orchard in 1982, and she has tended to it for all these years, slowing down only recently. (She is, after all, ninety-three years old; that’s her above in the 1990s.) This year, heat and drought … Continue reading

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Moving Towards the Light

It was already hot when I went for my morning walk up the canyon, wishing I had a buddy, either canine or human. It’s become a routine, looking forward to the shady stretch beneath the oaks, hearing the canyon wren … Continue reading

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Launch

It has become a ritual. We set the alarm, bundle up, go outside, and stand on the deck looking westward and up, sometimes feeling silly. Why are we so drawn to these spectacles in the sky that we rouse ourselves … Continue reading

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In A Land of Enchantment

It rained all through the night and into the morning, and everything is different. The road is shining like a river now. The canyon is fragrant. Tiny blades of green have suddenly erupted, and the leaves are dripping and glittering … Continue reading

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In this tricky time of trump and tumors…

I spend a lot of time appreciating how lucky I am. I’m fairly well insulated from hardship, surrounded by wonders, and traveling through life with a good partner by my side. Even so, I am going to acknowledge here that … Continue reading

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California Christmas

I’ve had plenty of bleak and poignant Christmases in my life–it certainly is a season of expectations and wishes that are often unmet–but this one has been especially strange. Part of it is the fire, of course, and so many … Continue reading

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A Different Kind of Loss

We had a pine tree growing near our house for nearly twenty years. I was used to seeing it through the bedroom window bathed in the light of new morning, and now and then, at the cusp of night, with … Continue reading

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