Bay Nature magazineWinter 2024


Winter 2024 Editor’s Letter: Nature’s Superpower

"One of nature's great powers is to provide the metaphors we seek, and in this issue of Bay Nature, I see healing everywhere," writes editor-in-chief Victoria Schlesinger.

February 21, 2024
Editor-in-chief Victoria Schlesinger. (Photo by Barbara Butkus)

We’ve got a glass globe that will hold the hummers’ sugar water. An old nylon stocking cut off at the knee, stuffed full with thistle seeds and pierced through by a knobbly twig that’s meant for perching. A brick of suet. And a robin’s-egg-blue ceramic birdbath—something I picked up years ago at a garage sale—now nestled at the base of the little tree holding our makeshift bird feeders. This is our heartfelt, and somewhat ramshackle, invitation to the local bird community to stop by our backyard, get a snack, say hello. 

We were inspired by Amy Tan’s backyard birding stories (p. 18) and decided our bird bodega could personify a new beginning after a long year. It was a rough one, 2023, full of loss for my family. But nature is getting us through. One of its great powers is to provide the metaphors we seek, and in this issue of Bay Nature, I see healing everywhere.

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There is the repair of floodplains along tributaries of the Russian River so that coho will spawn there again (p. 22). Hundreds of acres of farmland have been restored to wetlands, meadows, and riparian habitat in the East Bay (p. 40). Already, the birds have settled in. Throughout the Bay Area and California, beavers are making a comeback and helping hydrate the land, as state regulations change due to the hard work of activists and scientists (p. 28). Our new columnist, Endria Richardson, writes about societal healing and the state of her front porch garden (p. 15). Nature, the infinite storyteller, is at the ready to elucidate our lives. And there’s such a bounty in this issue. 

In November, I found myself with a group of friends, lying on our backs beneath a sky embroidered with starlight in the dark hinterlands of Sonoma County. This on the heels of editing the cover story about astronomy in the city (p. 34). Together we watched the Leonids meteor shower, all that ancient debris burning up, and thought about what a new year can bring. 

In my family’s backyard, we’re ready for the year to call in flocks of goldfinches, with their cheerful, convivial ways, and Anna’s hummingbirds, all moxie and flash. Also those faithful oak titmice and funny Bewick’s wrens. By all means, bring on the squirrel clowns. We’re hoping the downpour of winter rain spurs the wildflowers of spring. 

About the Author

Victoria Schlesinger is the editor in chief of Bay Nature.

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