Spy Rock Memories, Part 6

Winter came in hard that year, and stayed hard. By mid-December it was obvious I wouldn’t have enough firewood to last till spring, and between the limited hours of daylight and the ice and snow that clung to everything and made much of the land impassable, cutting more wood and getting it back to the […]

Spy Rock Memories, Part 5

While it was happening, and for a long time afterward, there was no doubt in my mind that 1985 was the worst year of my life. I wandered through it like a wounded animal, in so much darkness and pain that it would be well into the next decade, if not the next century, before […]

Spy Rock Memories, Part 4

As soon as you give something a name, it begins to die, says an old Chinese proverb, and its corollary might be that as soon as you get comfortable somewhere, things start going wrong. I thought it might be different on Spy Rock, and for a while it was. Though trouble might be brewing down […]

Return To The Emerald Triangle

Contrary to Thomas Wolfe’s dictum, you can indeed go home again. It’s just that there’s no guarantee home will be anything like the way you left it, if in fact it’s still there at all. Nor, flying in the face of Robert Frost’s oft-quoted wisdom, that when you go there, they’ll have to let you […]

O, Laytonville!

“Hey,” my nephew said, “that place you used to live is in the newspaper.” And so it was; in a lengthy SF Weekly piece about the mishmash of conflicting regulations and practices regarding marijuana and how they might be affected by this November’s statewide referendum on its legaliza­tion, my lovely old Laytonville loomed large. True […]

England Expects

Sooner or later during any international football com­petition in which England features we are sure to hear some variation on “England expects,” the reference being to Admiral Nelson’s exhortation on the eve of the Battle of Trafalgar, the battle that gave Britain effective control of the high seas and, for the next century-plus, the modern […]

Idiot Wind Redux

45 years ago, as a 17 year old high school senior, I cringed as I saw the pictures of civil rights marchers being brutally beaten and having dogs set upon them by police officers in Selma, Alabama. It was a defining moment for me, and, I suspect, many other Ameri­cans. It was already well understood […]

An Idiot Wind

Given my choice of movies, the execrable Michael Jackson puff piece/pseudo-documentary *This Is It* would have remained near the bottom of my list, but on a long airplane journey over a cloud-obscured ocean, having read all my back issues of the Anderson Valley Advertiser, there wasn’t anything else to dis­tract me from getting out the […]

Spy Rock Memories, Part 3

All right, maybe I exaggerated a little bit. There were a few weeks of spring before summer hit with full superheated force. As I was to learn (and re-learn, year after year), freezing weather can and probably will put in at least a token appearance any time up until late May. For that matter, by […]

This Day In History: February 4, 1968

For many years afterward I’d approach this date with deep, dark trepidation, convinced that some sort of disaster was certain to befall me. The one time, though, that an actual disaster happened, I never saw it coming. That’s not completely true. In fact, I’d sensed an oncoming catastrophe at least as far back as October […]