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Are We There Yet?  vol. 207 Thumbnail

Are We There Yet? vol. 207

NPR ran a segment earlier this week on the giant sequoia trees that grow on the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada in California. The trees can live 2,000 years and can be as tall as 325 feet. The segment discussed these trees are endangered because of the extreme wildfires that now occur more frequently. While changing climate is contributing to the problem, a main cause is the way that humans have altered the forest.

The sequoia life cycle has always been tied to fires. “The massive trees, often 15 feet around, are protected from the heat by thick, shaggy bark. Their lowest branches are far from the forest floor, reducing the chances they'll ignite when smaller trees burn.” As the heat from the fire rises, the seed cones open and seedlings are released. With the vegetation close to the ground burned, the seedlings have a better chance at thriving. “But for the last century, humans have extinguished wildfires, allowing dead and dry vegetation to build up on the forest floor.” This buildup has led to more intense and extreme fires, which are killing the sequoias. 

The plight of the sequoias got me thinking about our lives. Sometimes, our best intentions don’t have the result we were hoping for. Think of the parent who always hovers over their child, protecting them from pain or failure. While in the short term, that child may be safe and protected, they are also not as prepared for the real world. The sequoia life cycle includes what we would consider scary and painful. I know I would not want to live through a low-intensity fire. But if we understand that the fire is necessary for the survival of the trees, we can better accept it. In my life, there have been plenty of challenges, failures, and difficult times, but as I look back, those instances shaped who I am and, in most cases, helped me to learn, grow, and thrive.

Take care and stay safe.


The Kamogawa Food Detectives by Hisashi Kashiwai

Down a quiet backstreet in Kyoto exists a very special restaurant. Run by Koishi Kamogawa and her father Nagare, the Kamogawa Diner serves up deliciously extravagant meals. But that's not the main reason customers stop by . . .

The father-daughter duo are 'food detectives'. Through ingenious investigations, they are able to recreate dishes from a person’s treasured memories – dishes that may well hold the keys to their forgotten past and future happiness. The restaurant of lost recipes provides a link to vanished moments, creating a present full of possibility.

A bestseller in Japan, The Kamogawa Food Detectives is a celebration of good company and the power of a delicious meal.