Followers and friends will know that I spent nine months at home this year, at first mostly near my mother’s (now former) home in New Jersey with some trips to my own home-base in Sonoma County, and then from June mostly in SoCo. The day I left my home to begin the travels which brought me to the desk in Dhaka from which I’m writing this now, I left earlier than planned because the friend whom I’d planned to be my ride to the airport was in an area that had fallen under mandatory evacuation, due to yet another devastating forest fire. That fire ultimately burned parts of Shiloh Ranch Regional Park, which had already been badly burned in the major fires just two years ago. I hiked up there less than two weeks before I flew out, and took the photo just below – where you see the charred part of a trail marker, left over from two years earlier.
You also see how very dry things are by the late dry season, making whatever vegetation there is ready fuel for any fires that do start. The photos I’m showing you here were taken on several hikes with friends (Howard, Nancy, Steve) and bike rides on my own, in many parks, trails and roads spanning a lot of Sonoma County between the end of the wet season / start of dry (the first photo in this post, on a bike ride in mid-April when rain might still fall a bit) to the one below, late October, late in the dry when we haven’t seen rain in more than six months.
I’m thinking of home on what’s still the end of Thanksgiving day, there in California – even if here it’s already Friday morning, that silly consumerist “black Friday” thing that American merchants get all excited about. Enjoy time with your friends and family, my beloved readers. They’re what’s truly priceless.
In May, I spent a few weeks of holiday back in Sonoma County. As ever, I spent as much time as I could on the bike trails and in the parks. As you’ll see in these photos, the California poppies were in bloom, the days were usually sunny but sometimes – as when Amy & I climbed to the top of Hood Mountain — pretty cloudy and even occasionally rainy. (That’s rare for May in California, in case you didn’t know.) In Haiti, where I’m spending most of my time these days, I rarely have the chance to linger by streams with wading birds and gliding ducks, or to enjoy little irises or turkeys fanning out during a hike in the woods. I’ve also included a couple of shots taken at Dolores Park, one of my favorite spots in San Francisco, which has been under reconstruction much of the past year and now looks fresh, new and as popular as ever.
…plus a few remnants from a series one might call ‘airports of the world.’ smw, slt has not gotten out and about with the camera much these past weeks, but I did realize there was a small cache of photos from some boat trips on the bay, and some hikes in Marin and Sonoma counties, that had not yet been posted. Since I get a bit homesick sometimes when I’m so far away, I’m putting these up so that I have an easy way to scan over them from time to time and remind myself what home looks like. Maybe some of you will enjoy it as well. All the photos have descriptive file names that show up if you hover over them or open them separately, I think. In the slide show below, you’ll see a panorama which goes from the Bay Bridge on the left (east), across the full waterfront of northern SF, to the Golden Gate Bridge & Marin Headlands on the right (west). Further down you’ll see some hiking shots from the trails in Tennessee Valley (Marin county), and Annadel State Park & Hood Mountain Regional Park (Sonoma County). In one of them you’ll see frost on the ground in the shadowy foreground: that was Christmas day last year – ah, how I long for frost on a hot afternoon here in Port au Prince! At the end are some photos of me and friends – at Wolf House in Jack London State Historic Park (Sonoma County) … and, well, me looking as lost as I felt, with some colleagues in Casablanca airport on my way home from Sierra Leone, last December. Our flight out of Freetown had been at some crazy hour like 2 am or 3 am or something, so we took the ferry over to the airport at 10pm or so, and snoozed in the waiting area and then flew for three hours to Casablanca to land at something like 8 in the morning. Oy, airports in which we have waited listlessly: might be a future series, what do you think?