Now available: 2023 Landscape & Nature Calendar

Vibrant Chaparral

Chaparral landscapes are uniform and unique at the same time. What appears to be endless green slopes is composed of neverending complexity and chaos. The plants stand together, anonymous to most of us, yet each with its own character. Looking at them with a long telephoto lens on an overcast morning revealed all this to me.

And chaparral is, just like so many other things in nature, threatened by us humans. The sparks that cause devastating wildfires come from campfires, cars and machinery, and they come way too often. Chaparral needs at least 15-20 years to recover, often more.

I hope the beautiful north-facing slopes of Black Mountain Open Space Preserve will be spared as development encroaches and gets closer to them. And what kind of anachronism is it that there is yet more development, with yet more new houses and backyards and pretty green common areas, in a time of drought when we’re supposed to cut water usage by at least 25%?

There are days when I wonder where evolution went wrong and created us. What we’re doing to the planet as a species doesn’t seem to fit. Nature keeps itself in balance until we intrude. We’re slowly but steadily making the planet we live on uninhabitable. And the ones who will ultimately go extinct is us. Nature doesn’t care. Nature knows time spans that are too long for us to comprehend. Nature will rebound and recover. Maybe we are aliens?

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