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Veronique de Turenne

Signs of Saturday: Mutual aid

All week long convoys of firefighters from neighboring states have been driving north on PCH. I'm just glad they get to see a scenic bit of coast before heading into the heartbreak of the Thomas Fire inferno.

Utah firefighters here to help

Another carbon-forward sunset

Beautiful but more than that, unsettling.

yet another fire sunset

Let's pretend it's yesterday so it can still be...

Puppy Wednesday!

he said what??

Here's Miss Daisy just counting down the seconds until it's time to go outside and wrestle with Walt, lick a 4-year-old boy's ear, and (ever hopeful, ever the Labrador) get a treat for her troubles.

C (as in carbon)

Crouched on the horizon where December rain clouds once gathered is a thick band of smoke from the wildfires still burning.

horizon smothered in wildfire smoke

And the sunsets have been just plain eerie.

sun sets in layer of wildfire smoke

New moon

new moon

Head high enough (and deep enough) into the hills and you can escape the sounds on the ground, the cars and voices and chain saws and leaf blowers and talk radio and and and. It's what's above, though, a constant in LA, jets and planes and helicopters and now drones, that robs you of the chance of even an instant without man-made sound.

But this morning, in the flats of Solstice Canyon, a miracle. The trails, the hills and even the sky, all still, and the silence, you could feel it on your skin.

The sunset here last night

Just after the sun set last night the winds kicked up, storming down Malibu Canyon in gusts so strong that standing up became a challenge. We were lucky (again) and an hour later all was still, save for the occasional siren screaming up PCH, mutual aid fire fighters racing north.

december light

bluffs park sunset

wildfire sunset

Sea level

Malibu Colony and climate denial

Homeowners in the Malibu Colony may not be climate change deniers, but buying there takes a certain type of denial nonetheless.

Signs of Saturday: Pinus radiata

California native

With our most recent living Christmas tree safely planted up at the barn last spring, it was time to find a new candidate to do holiday duty. We always go to Treeland in Woodland Hills, where the selection includes my favorite, Pinus radiata, better known as the Monterey pine.

It's a California central coast native that thrives in the sea breezes. Each January, after the lights and decorations come off, it gets transplanted into a roomier pot. Then it spends the year in a sheltered, semi-shady corner of the garden, hand-watered and, when luck is with us, rained upon.

Last year's tree had served for three Christmas seasons. It was so tall by the third year (a little more than nine feet) that we had to use a ladder reach the top. This year's tree, at just seven feet, feels small by comparison. But it will be beautiful when it comes inside next week and the Christmas things go on and a bit of wilderness transforms the house in these final days of the year.

living christmas trees

tree shopping

Autumn ending

santa monica mounains in autumn

Fall in the Santa Monica mountains, not the face slap of color you get in the east, but subtle and soulful, a sweet reward for true believers.

Fire light

fire light

Out to sea the colors are all wrong as everywhere, our wildlands burn.

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