My wife and I live about 8.5 hours north of Los Angeles in Redding, California. I moved here in the summer of 2015 and it was about 115 degrees. She followed about a month later and during that summer there were several major fires burning around our home. We live about half a block from the Sacramento River. On this morning in November, 2016 the fog lingered until about 9 a.m.
I’d like to say I’m going to pick up this photo blog again, but I’m not going to make any promises I can’t keep.
We moved to Silent Hill, where I work as a reporter for a daily newspaper.
This here Nissan ran over a spike strip after a pursuit. According to police reports, the driver stepped out of the vehicle with a knife held to his neck, threatening to harm himself. The driver then got back into the car and police had to send in a K-9 unit to bring out the suspect.
Birding, or bird watching, is setting out to find a specific type of bird.
But bird counting is the act of counting all birds that cross your path. All of them. This was part of the Christmas Bird Count in Redding, 2015, which took place on an overcast, Sunday morning. All the birds were counted for the sake of determining trends in bird populations.
It sounds like a Greek parable, of not spending your time counting the birds in the sky. I’m sure this is a parable in some agrarian society.
Abbygail Benner sits on her father’s shoulders, Josh Benner, as the Anderson Christmas tree is lit up on Center Street on Sunday evening.
This is from an article that originally appeared in the November 30, 2015 print issue of the Record Searchlight newspaper and online. I both photographed the event and wrote the article at the Anderson Christmas tree lighting event.
Maisie Baker, center, cries on Santa Claus’ lap, as helper elf Brianna Browning helps her back to her parents during the Anderson Christmas tree lighting and parade on Sunday.
The dry, golden landscape stretched out to the horizon like a sour note. Before my first visit here Redding was formless, a concept that held no people, values or history. It simply was a destination, one where I would relocate my life to in total.
That’s not entirely true.
Redding was a map location in the PC game Fallout 2. And I played that game set in a post-apocalyptic landscape with its two-headed cows and mutant scorpions, where roving bands of raiders carried chains and knives, safe in my assumption that it was all make believe.
Okay, the real Redding is not a desolate place to live. There are giant bugs here though, Fallout 2 got that part right. I’m working and writing words here and maybe killing a few bugs here and there.
I’ve gotten used to the 105 degree weather now. There are days when it is only 100 degrees and the sun does not throw its weight around and we are all thankful for these breaks in the onslaught of heat.
I’ve been pronouncing Redding slowly for family and friends. I reassure them with, “It’s only about three hours north of Sacramento!” It’s as far away as one can get from Los Angeles while still holding on to the same driver’s license.
The name ‘Los Angeles’ is a toxic word up here. I introduce myself and feel the word hang in the air like a lead balloon.
There’s a definite adjustment period.
I’m tempted to start throwing out stereotypes, labeling the city X or Y, but I know that’s not fair. I can make observations and those are simply thoughts that have found their way to the keyboard.
* Redding is not without culture. It’s the American culture personified. It’s a heavy drink to get down, because there is little dilution to be found. Chinese or Spanish words are rare, but when I do hear them they float among the drawn out vowels and drawls.
* North State is not without Mexican influences, but they are found in neon painted restaurants, attempting to invoke some Baja California lifestyle motif. ‘I Heart Margaritas’ is the most Chicano art I have seen so far. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough. Maybe all the Latinos hang out somewhere else or shop at another store.
* I’ve seen more Monster Energy Drink car decals on the sides of lifted trucks than I care to count.
And why not? People gotta know a person’s energy drink preference. There is no waiting with bated breath to know how this person gets caffeine into their body – they’ve stated so on the side of their vehicle.
“What’s that son? A Red Bull? In this house we drink Monster!”
“Yeah Jim, I’m trying to quit the Monster. Switching over to Rockstar, doctor’s orders.”
Expect a change of scenery in this here photo blog. I’m calling Redding home for the time being. I apologize if you put faith in me documenting the Los Angeles landscape. Interpret this as a long detour. Shasta County is beautiful country, so something good will come out of this.