Thursday, July 09, 2009


Because of the light that day, I took some photos in this corner of the HSU campus last fall (top photo.) Little did I realize that by this spring, this view would no longer exist. I passed by again in May, and ongoing huge construction has torn much of it away. The big trees were still there, although pretty forlorn, but the little stream you can't quite see behind the bushes seemed to be gone. Then I noticed the odd effect of dead grass just inside the construction fence, and green outside it at the far edge. That's the second photo. But even that changed. The last time I went by, the inside grass was green, too.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

More Bragging Rights

Amy Stewart, North Coaster and columnist for the North Coast Journal (as am I), is featured in today's New York Times, concerning her new book, Wicked Plants: The Weed That Killed Lincoln’s Mother & Other Botanical Atrocities (Algonquin), which inspired an exhibition at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Photo is from the NY Times, of Amy at home.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bragging Rights

This is Brooke Grant of Hoopa, voted Miss Indian World at the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow in New Mexico. She has lineage in three North Coast peoples (Hupa, Karuk and Yurok) as well as Chippewa. Congratulations to Brooke Grant and the Grant family!

This is Brooke Grant's Traditional song at the Gathering of Nations Pow Wow, a song sung for girls at their coming-of-age ceremony.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Arcata Sunset Series 3

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Arcata Sunset (series 2)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

R.I.P. Deborah Clasquin

Deborah Clasquin, pianist and teacher much beloved on the North Coast, passed away on Tuesday, it was announced today. In his email to colleagues, Dean Kenneth Ayoob called her "a force of nature," and Deborah certainly was that. She was a force for good on the North Coast and for the students and fellow HSU faculty she championed. I'll always remember sitting behind her on the Fulkerson Hall stage as she played "Rhapsody in Blue." My last encounter with her ended in a long hug. We will miss her.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Winter Sunsets

Our so-far sunny winter also meant spectacular sunsets. More about this sunny winter in post below. BK photos.

Goodbye, Sun

It's hard--very hard--to get upset about sunny days. Especially in a place where there aren't that many of them (though I did look that up before we moved here in 1996, and statistically there were about as many sunny days here per year as in Pittsburgh. It just doesn't seem like it.)

But sunny days in winter--a string of gorgeous sunny days the likes of which we don't even get in spring, summer or fall--was wonderful, but also scary. This is supposed to be our rainy season. Sometimes the rains start in December, but they're always here in January and February, and often into March.

Those rains are important. Our dry, warm January extended south to San Francisco, and particularly into the mountains. Just that one month of little rain or snow may have condemned the Bay Area to some degree of water rationing this coming summer. We're not looking forward to fire season up here either. Last summer, after reasonable winter rains, the fires were extensive and very damaging.

And even though January was so extreme that it was impossible to ignore, technically we're in at least our second year of drought. Southern California has been in drought for much longer.

Up here, it seems we could absorb a sunny January, but of course there's global heating, and if this is the start of a trend, this entire ecosystem could change, with consequences I doubt anyone can fully foresee.

Of course it was hard to concentrate on ideas of doom when the sun was shining, with blue skies and that carress of sweet air, just a little cooler than the feel of the sun that we normally get mostly in the fall. The Golden State.

There was another bonus resulting from clear days: clear nights. What a treat to see the winter stars, especially with the recent conjunction of the moon at its closest point in years with bright Venus and brighter than usual Jupiter. The other night, it was the crescent moon--straight as a smile-- with Venus bright beneath it. I had to drive down to Ferndale that night, and they always seemed to be right in front of me, in the blackness above the thin ribbons of fog. When I got home just after 11 they were gone, but it was a cold clear night, very black sky, very white stars, and as I gazed up at Orion's belt---a shooting star!

We did get a few showers, but then the sun came back immediately, and I saw the biggest rainbow I've seen here--a complete arch, from somewhere near Mad River Beach, and fading into the Arcata Community Forest.

Well, there's rain in the forecast for tomorrow. Maybe we're just getting the season late. That's what happened in 2007--a dry January, a very wet February. Today was the foggy gray with some sun behind it that in other Februarys would pass as a pretty nice day. But after day after day of bright sunshine, it was kind of depressing. Though, of course, I'm glad.