Tuesday, March 29, 2005


"So often we rob tomorrow's memories by today's economies."
-John Mason Brown

With a carefree smile
Framed by straight brown hair
A sparkle in her eye
As she passed on the stair
It made me feel warm
Every time she was there.

It all was strictly business
In the workplace you know
Leaving much about each other
That we never get to show
Feelings just get buried
Gotta go with the flow.

We’d put our heads together
And we’d get the job done
Sometimes she’d say “I love you”
It was only in fun
Our friendship got a start
But it never got to run.

Then  one day she was leaving
A career move she said
She needed it of course
Got to go where life led
A chance to get away
And to keep her soul fed.

On the steps that final day
Her eyes looked a little sad
I wanted to say something
But expression could be bad
The talk was mostly business
It was all we really had.

I gave a little parting gift
The card I made was dealt
She read the sincere sentiment
And then her heart could melt
We hugged, I  made a comment
To hint at how I felt.

It wasn’t about romance
Just friendship I’ll allow
For three years she had touched my heart
Though still I'm not sure how
I hadn't really known it then
But I sure know it now.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Muddy Waters, Muddy Thinking

A landmark cypress tree on Scenic Road is perilously close to falling into the Carmel River. So is a section of Scenic Road.




The river has eroded the bluffs right up to the edge of Scenic Road




The river was breached in an unusual way this year. Instead of cutting straight through the beach, they cut a diagonal trench to the northwest




There has been an ongoing dispute between Monterey County, residents near the Carmel River lagoon, and the Department of Fish and Game




The Fish and Game biologists say the steelhead need more time to adjust to the semi-saline lagoon before being washed out to the fully saline ocean.




They have ordered that the lagoon not be breached until nearby homes are perilously close to flooding




Upsets the neighbors




They breached the river at an angle to somehow minimize the trauma for the fish.




The river did what it does naturally, and carried sand out to the ocean.




The ocean puts it back on the beach, in a different place, which diverts the path of the river towards the bluff, to undermine the tree and road.




Ironically, is the same bluff that was rebuilt with sand last year to repair erosion caused by the river which had turned northward




Makes me wonder what goes through their minds.


One winter, several years ago, the river naturally migrated towards the north, and did pretty much what it is doing now. It became clear that if allowed to continue, it would undermine Scenic Road, so the bulldozers came back and redirected the river to the south end of the beach. That year they stopped the erosion long before it could damage anything important.


Having witnessed that year’s event, I knew the authorities were asking for trouble when they deliberately breached the river towards the north. I figured either they were taking a big risk, or they knew something I didn’t about beach erosion.


They were taking a big risk. I’m no expert on beach erosion, but it is now evident that I knew a whole lot more than they did. If diagonal breaching was necessary, it would have made a lot more sense to do it southward where there is nothing to threaten, rather than northward.


If local news reports are accurate, Fish and Game is also making an assumption that the river, if it breached naturally, wouldn’t wash the fish out to sea as fast as a man-made breach.


I sincerely doubt that. I’ve seen the river breached almost naturally, and it happens very fast.


When I say “almost naturally” we were there one day when the river was very, very close to breaking through. Some fellow used his hands to cut a short trench, just a few inches wide and deep and a few feet long, to let the water flow across the highest part of the sand between the lagoon and the ocean. Within five minutes the trench was about a foot wide, and not quite as deep.


Thirty minutes later, from the force of erosion alone, the channel had grown to six feet deep and over ten feet wide. It was a raging torrent that threatened to swallow up anyone who got too close. The erosion was happening so fast that it was causing sections of the beach to shift under us several feet from the channel’s edge. We left because we did not feel safe there. That is what would happen naturally. It would burst through very fast, not in the gradual trickle that Fish and Game claims would take the fish out gently.


I support wildlife preservation, and habitat enhancements. I’ve even been accused by wing-nuts of being an eco-freak. But intentionally risking millions of dollars in damage to a public road, by diverting a river nearer to it, does not come across as sound policy. Perhaps there is some bit of ecological knowledge that is eluding me in this matter, but so far I haven’t seen any evidence that Fish and Game people really know what they’re doing.