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Silent, Sleeky, Salamanders 

“What kind of beast is your salamander?” asked the Prince.  “It is hard to tell their kind, your Honor,” said Golg. “For they are too…


The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is turning 45 on November 10, 2023.  Almost all of the big western national parks were created from…

Parrots in Paradise 

Almost every spring for the last eight years, mitered parakeets have nested in the old windbreak of eucalyptus trees that borders our garden. By the…

La Costa Beach 

La Costa Beach is almost entirely hidden behind the houses that locals have nicknamed “the Great Wall of Malibu.” Also hidden here, among the homes…


Women in Bloom 

Nature’s first green is gold,

Her hardest hue to hold.

Her early leaf’s a flower;

But only so an hour.

Then leaf subsides to leaf.

So Eden sank to grief,

So dawn goes down to day.

Nothing gold can stay.

—Robert Frost

The Spring Equinox occurred on March 20, at 8:33 a.m., marking the moment when day and night are of equal length, the  moment that is the official start of astronomical spring. Meteorological spring is a different matter this year. It is even more elusive and ephemeral than usual, due to the almost unprecedented lack of rain in February and March. Wildflower season has already peaked in our mountains and the hills are fading from the gold of “Nature’s first green,” to the dusty ochre hues of summer, even as spring officially begins. “So dawn goes down to day. Nothing gold can stay…” 

COVID-19 continues to linger, like some dreary ghost in a Victorian morality play. The number of new cases in Los Angeles County continues to decline, but BA.2, an Omicron sub-variant of the virus, is raising concerns. BA.2 is currently estimated to be 30 percent more contagious than Omicron, which means it may soon be the dominant strain, but it hasn’t generated a spike in numbers yet, despite spreading rapidly.

Wearing an N-95 mask is still recommended in crowded public settings, and is still required—along with proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test—for some venues, including many live theater and concert events. Public health officials are asking everyone to be mindful and take sensible precautions, especially during spring break.

There’s a different kind of epidemic on local roads: speeding. A concerted effort is underway to shut down canyon speeders, side-shows, and street racing in and around the Santa Monica Mountains. 

Lost Hills Sheriff’s Deputies and CHP officers have been out in force on the weekends, performing traffic stops, writing tickets and impounding vehicles. The move is being made in response to multiple recent accidents and fatalities, and it can’t come soon enough for Canyon residents who are tired of being run off the road by racers going 80 in the S-curves, or being stuck in traffic on PCH for three hours while emergency crews disentangle the latest speedster from a telephone pole. 

On one recent weekend, 87 citations were issued by the CHP. The following weekend, sheriff’s deputies matched those numbers, issuing 87 more, including 41 on canyon roads, and 46 on PCH, but speeding remains a serious safety issue, and not just for the speeders. We can all help by slowing down, staying alert, and reporting erratic or dangerous drivers. 

We are looking to the future in this issue of TNT. Our historian Jimmy Morgan takes a look at speculative fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson’s take on the potential for social and environmental sustainability in The Ministry for the Future; contributor Saori Wall previews an innovative new Canyon business that is opening in May; and we explore the future of wildlife connectivity, as the groundbreaking Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing at Liberty Canyon prepares to actually break ground. 

And speaking of the future, there’s a chance of rain early next week—keep your fingers crossed!

Stay safe, be well.

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