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Tomato Mania 

Easter is on April 17 this year, closely following the start of Passover, on April 15. These two holidays, so deeply rooted in the miraculous, invite us to reflect on death without fear. They are a profound reaffirmation of rebirth, and no matter how one celebrates this spring season of renewal, this is a time for both reflection and rejoicing. 

The recent rain was also cause for rejoicing. Most parts of the Santa Monica Mountains received at least one inch of rain and some received as much as two. 

The precipitation brought welcome relief for wildflowers struggling to bloom during the extreme drought conditions this year. We saw the beautiful and increasingly rare Catalina mariposa lily this week blooming in sheltered locations throughout the Santa Monica Mountains. It’s rare to see more than one or two plants at a time of this state listed special concern species, but they are abundant this spring in the Palisades fire burn scar in Topanga State Park—a reaffirmation of the power of nature to regenerate, even after what appears to be absolute destruction.

April is Earth Month. We’ll be celebrating with features on sustainability and the environment, starting in this issue with a master gardener who encourages everyone to grow a garden. 

While many large community events are still on hold, some are back, including the City of Calabasas’ popular Earth Day Celebration/Green Expo, scheduled for Saturday, April 16, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Las Virgenes Creek site, tucked away behind the businesses on Agoura Road.

April 22-30 is International Dark Sky Week, a good time to stop by the International Dark-Sky Association’s website for solutions that allow people to appreciate dark, star-filled skies while enjoying the benefits of responsible outdoor lighting: https://IDSW.darksky.org.

Two much loved Topanga traditions are back this year, too: Topanga Days, over Memorial Day weekend, and the Topanga Canyon Gallery’s Artists’ Studio Tour, June 11 and 12. In this issue of TNT, we are debuting the first in a series of features on the artists of the Studio Tour, and we will have much more on both events.

Spring brings a promise this year not only of renewal but of a return to normalcy, after two years of coronavirus craziness, but COVID-19 is still active. In Los Angeles County, the BA.2 sub-variant is spreading fast—so fast that the downward trend in new cases of coronavirus has leveled out, and health officials warn that the numbers could soon be trending up again. 

It may be tempting to relax safety measures now that they are no longer mandatory, but for anyone with health issues, N95 masks and safety precautions like staying away from crowded indoor activities are still recommended. We’ve come a long way from April 2020, when the world shut down, but we still need to be aware that the crisis isn’t entirely over. Not yet. 

That’s enough doom and gloom for us! April is here, hope is in the air, and no matter what tomorrow brings, we have a lot to be grateful for today.

Stay safe, be well.

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