Today is publication day for The Cold Canyon Fire Journals. I am writing this in utter amazement that the day has arrived, and so proud to have a book out in the world.
My book is the culmination of nearly six years hiking and sketching in a California canyon, burned twice in that time by wildfire. I set out to learn all I could about how the habitats there respond to fire, and how my own observations fit into the larger picture of climate change in California and the western US. It is about the insights and sometimes astounding shifts in perspective that can come from careful study of and immersion in a particular place, from experiencing an ecosystem over time, across the seasons and years.
In writing this book, I wanted to bring readers into this experience, through the narrative but also through my drawings. So the book is full of my actual sketchbook pages, telling the story in conversation with the text, and inviting you to walk with me a little way along the trail.
This project has taught me so much about what you can find when you look closely. It has introduced me to engaging, insightful, funny and warm people. It has helped me discover a writer in myself that I didn’t know existed.
As I watch the latest fires in California during yet another long, hot, dry summer, I am holding close the lessons I’ve learned from the newts and the horntails, the whispering bells and the lichens, and all the other denizens of the canyon.