There’s that certain moment when you first taste the arrival of a new season. (Yes, we really do have seasons in the Bay Area.) For me, it combines the momentary thrill of embracing an old friend who’s finally returned with the comforting confirmation that there is still some order in the universe. My senses, grown slightly stale with the predictable patterns of the expiring season, wake up to a flood of new stimuli.
This is especially true with the advent of the rainy season—a better term to use in Northern California than either fall or winter, because it’s all about water. The return of rain brings with it a smell of nature reawakening, as dried dun hillsides begin to breathe again, fungi thrust up their heads through downed leaves, depleted creeks surge to life, returning salmon add splashes of color, whale spouts show up along the coast, and rafts of scoters patrol the estuaries.
And then there’s the remarkable confluence of water and gravity. I get a kick out of watching the ingenuity of water as it seeks out the path of least resistance, overwashing gutters, sheeting off sidewalks, and filling whatever nooks and crannies and crevices and depressions it encounters. Of course, this isn’t so great if its route is through your roof or foundation. But outside on the street or in the woods, take a few moments to admire the path and patterns of rainwater as it works its way around and through obstacles, creating mini-streams, micro-cataracts, and proto-gullies. Then stand back, look around, and think about how these processes work on a large scale, over the millennia. You can begin to envision the transformational and erosive power of rainwater, which has brought us the broad valley of the Napa River, etched the intricate structures in sandstone at El Corte de Madera Preserve, and exposed exquisite sand dollar fossils on area beaches. Then come back inside, dry off, and curl up by the heater with this issue of Bay Nature, while you wait for one of those razor-sharp, clear blue days that follow a good rain.
With this issue we begin our seventh year of publication. And for the first time in those seven years, we’ve raised our subscription rate and newsstand price. My first inclination is to apologize, but so many things—from paper to printing to postage to health insurance—have gotten more expensive over the past six years, while we’ve held the line. So I’ll just thank you for your understanding, and trust you’ll continue to find Bay Nature well worth the price. And to make it easier for you to do just that, we’ll offer you one more opportunity to get the old rate: Renew or extend your existing subscription before February 1, 2007, and pay just $19 for one year, $36 for two years, or $52 for three. Call (888)4-BAYNAT or (888)422-9628 to take advantage of this offer. We look forward to your continued company.