13 December 2009


I am reminded of the other southern Cal natural hazard (no, not the drive-by shootings!), besides the one when the very earth beneath one's feet performs its liquefaction dance and reminds one of the fragility of life and Earth: I'm speaking of wild fires that drive all God's creatures before them or be toasted. Moses himself must have witnessed something like the impossible-to-chop-down manzanita bush exploding into a fire ball before his eyes. The Eleventh Commandment (at least for southern Cal) should read, "Thou shalt not play with incendiary devices in the chaparral."

Then there are the landslides, especially after the wild fires (one hazardous thing leads to another!), that block roads anywhere there's a road beneath a cliff, like up in the Santa Monicas.

Yes, the tarantulas are interesting, especially when the frisky males migrate across hill country from Trancas to Topanga canyons and beyond (looking for fine, hairy multi-eyed females sitting and waiting before their rocky lair tunnels!) and I, as an observant driver not wanting to cause more ink spots on the roads and not wanting to interfere with romantic arachno-trysts, would swerve like an amped surfer carving the barrel.

Close behind where I lived up Decker Canyon there was a straight volcanic sill [a tabular body of igneous rock injected while molten between sedimentary or volcanic beds], cream- and apricot-colored (I have a piece of it resting on my window sill--ha!: the word "sill," with different meanings, used homophonically twice in the same sentence!) where I would look for the darlin' tarantulas.

Otherwise, I spent my last year there muttering to myself, "This is insane!," after I became a freeway-flier inching my way on the Santa Monica Freeway. By the end of that harried year, I was sitting rather culture shocked in the backwoods of Mississippi in a cabin-like house, just like the one Goldilocks discovered, as depicted on the cover of daughter Sanjina Marie's book. I am not making this up.

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