New Life in the Natural World

Since my last post, life has taken quite a turn!  School is pretty amazing.  In the past two weeks we have mastered perspective drawing, straight lines without straight edge, street furniture, plant representational techniques (actually, I wouldn’t say mastered…)  We’re about to take a week-long field trip to Owens Valley– the amazing landscape that the City of Los Angeles notoriously raped for water in the California Water Wars.

I am fascinated by this whole story/place for multiple reasons.  First and most obvious, water history in California is mind-boggling, and I have been completely captivated by this topic since watching Chinatown for the first time last year.  This will be a significant part of the book I am working on.  Which ties into my second fascination, which is that the terminus of the Los Angeles Aqueduct that runs across the state all the way from Owens Valley to LA is in Sylmar, very close to where I was living for the past year and a half.  I didn’t actually know that that was what I was looking at as I drove by every day, but often I would hike East Canyon and see the massive Van Norman reservoir.

We watched this deeply disturbing documentary about California’s water in class (this is the first of 9 parts online):

My real fascination though is simply the remarkable diversity of ecological regions in California. On our fieldtrip we will get a first hand look at the results of such an environmental disaster as the Owens Valley desertification but also at the amazing geologic expressions that make it a very special place despite the horrible things humans did to it: the Owens Valley is the deepest valley in the Americas with 14k ft peaks on both sides and a 4k ft submersion of the valley floor.  There are volcanic craters, lakes, glaciers, desert, alpine forests, all within a few miles of eachother- 3 distinct biogeographic regions intersect here (Great Basin Desert, Mojave Desert, Sierra Nevada).  Which illustrates just another reason why California is just the best place on earth.

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