Lately, a new avian species has multiplied. They've been here for a while, but since the fire last winter burned the chaparral, turned it to ash, laid bare vast swathes of land just right for takeoff, their numbers have swelled. They come bearing parachutes, vivid arcs of fabric that snap in the wind, float in the slightest breeze. They strap gas-powered contraptions to their backs, rev loud engines shaped like giant fans, sprint a few ungainly steps down a steep, rock-strewn hill and suddenly, they're airborne. In flight.
I rather not know how high they go, though I long to see what they see. A birds-eye view of Malibu. Imagine that. Here's a pair of paragliders this weekend - the guy who owns the rig, with a paying customer in front. Her friends watch as they circle, as a covey of quail scatters, as they hover, then glide, slide into the gentlest of landings.