Being a naturalist I tend to celebrate the end of the year with the harvest at the end of October. The earth quiets down waiting for winter and the cold days to come. I took a walk very early this morning in Topanga Canyon, where I go a few times a year, to see how things were wrapping up for fall. Although I know California is going through an extreme drought it was sobering to see how dry it really was.
Even in the cool hollows of the trail where there is always just a faint patch of mossy rock to be found it was bone dry. Dusty and gray. The areas where I always see the trap door spider homes that I did a piece about a few years back was cracked and barren. The eucalyptus leaves hung sadly and the dust rose around me like a cloud when a jogger passed by. There were two deer at the entrance to the trail munching on something, but I couldn't imagine what it was since I only saw a single plant that actually seemed fresh and green. I know the plants here store water for years, but lately it must be a struggle.
Although the trail was dry, the morning sun still lit up our beautiful canyon plants and somehow even the dry branches seem to glow. As I exited the trail I noticed a new information area outlining the animals of the area, and I was dismayed to the the deer tick is now in the LA canyons. I watch carefully for scorpions, tarantulas and snakes, but now to keep an eye out for that nearly invisible monster seems too much. I guess every living thing here is looking for something to drink!