Well, it's a little hard to believe, but Northern California is dealing with yet another major wildfire in 2020. Homes, wineries and resorts have all been lost or have suffered massive amounts of damage. It makes me really sad to see this happen to the region again. Now, I'm the type of person who, once the dust settles, tends to look for a silver lining, or a lesson of some sort. It's sometimes extremely difficult to see any good in this sort of thing, but if I had to come up with a takeaway, it would be this: at the end of the day, material possessions are meaningless. Sure, some of them may be symbolic and very difficult to lose, and you wouldn't necessary choose to give them away, but they could all go up in smoke tomorrow and be mostly, if not entirely, replaced. I've heard this sentiment from multiple people that have lost their homes, that when the flames are closing in on you, it's the people (and pets) that matter most, because they're the ones that cannot be replaced. Everything else is just... stuff.
If you were wondering why they're called Acorn Woodpeckers, this should provide a bit of clarity. And yes, that is the head of a second woodpecker right behind it. Teamwork.
"Acorn Woodpeckers are very unusual woodpeckers that live in large groups, hoard acorns, and breed cooperatively. Group members gather acorns by the hundreds and wedge them into holes they’ve made in a tree trunk or telephone pole."
My family and I frequent a tiny town in Northern California called Mineral. Every morning there's a beautiful two mile walk we take which leads us through a couple very large meadows. The walks are usually filled with socializing, but we always make sure to keep an eye out for the Sandhill Cranes. It's pretty rare that we see them, so when we actually do it's a fairly special moment. They are very large birds, usually weighing between 7-14 lbs with a wingspan of 5-7 feet. This is the first time, since I started doing photography 3 or 4 years ago, that I've seen them close enough to take a photo. An exciting opportunity for me, and hopefully the first of many more!
"The Sandhill Crane is an incredibly old species, a fossil found was 2.5 million years old, which is over one and a half times older than the earliest remains of most living species of birds."
For this week I had planned on sharing a photo from my current Lassen trip, but while I was up here, a large fire erupted in my hometown of Willits. In my best attempt at solidarity with my friends and family dealing with this nightmare, I decided to share a photo taken in Willits. Admittedly, I don’t have many to choose from, but this is one that I love that was taken during one of my black & white phases. Sending you all my love. Stay strong.
The smoke from the fires has been so bad lately that I've been avoiding long walks, which has cut into my photography explorations quite a bit. But thankfully today the air was much more clear and I was able to get in a nice long adventure, which resulted in this photo that I now get to share with you. I remember this from previous fires, but this has been a big reminder for me to never take blue skies and clean air for granted. It's the type of thing that I tend to not recognize how important it is until it's gone.
"Let the clean air blow cobwebs from your body. Air is medicine."