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Friday Slide Show: Road Work Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

23 July 2021

At first glance today's slide show seems like two different productions. The images are from one walk but half of them are somewhat scenic while the other half are purely pedestrian.

But after living with the final selection a while, we realized they were all dealing with the same subject. Life on a hill.

Our first shot, for example, shows some expensive homes that overlook the canyon below them by virtue of stilts driven deep into the hillside.

But our second shows a tree on the path down the hill whose lower branches have recently been significantly pruned back.

Our third shows the high school football field at one end of the canyon and just below Twin Peaks in the foreground. Beyond the one person doing laps on the track, you can see homes sitting on the hill beyond the school and Twin Peaks beyond them.

There's a more intimate shot of the hill above us followed by a field of wild flowers. And then there's a bunch of kids hanging out at an outcropping of rock in the canyon before this half ends with some bright red berries.

We are, in short, showing the various forms life takes on the hill.

There's a lot of scenery but it's urban.

The second half of the show opens with a stream of cars going up and down O'Shaughnessy along the side of the canyon. Nothing scenic about it. Just another busy street, if a very long and windy one.

And soon enough we see a few traffic cones and a warning sign to Slow Down. The "o" in "Down" is strangely missing in action. But something unusual is up.

Then there's a couple of project signs. You can read them at your leisure if you're inclined (hill joke, there). But they're explaining that sometime this year the slope to the west will be "restored."

Beyond the second sign you can just make out some tall fencing and a bare hillside. That's the problem being worked on as seen just before the big cranes moved in to do the heavy lifting.

The Bobcat by the white storage shed (which apparently was being used as a garage) isn't the main subject of the next image or the portable toilet following it. It's the rock formation behind them. Those swirls of red chert never fail to amaze us. They seem more like circus acts than sediment.

But they're also a caution.

It's that slice of rock that warns you not to disturb it. Because if you do, it just may come tumbling down. As it has, rockslide after rockslide, on the hillside being restored.

You can see how bare that hillside is in the next two photos, which show the problem from two angles.

That provides all the convincing we would need to leave the hill alone.

But hard as it may to believe, there are plans to build large homes sunk into the nearby Edgehill Mountain composed of the same red chert. Neighbors have are fighting those plans.

Life on a hill is possible but precarious. And when the rocks start sliding down, it can quickly be the end of life on a hill.

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