After 33 years of living in Boston, my wife and I finally escaped New England winters and moved to Berkeley!  To put it simply, we are in love—with each other, of course, but with Berkeley and the incredible beauty of the Bay Area and the East Bay hills.

Every time I walk through the beautiful campus of the University of California, every time I hike up a fire trail in Strawberry or Claremont Canyons, I feel so blessed by the natural beauty I see all around me.

So, in this blog, I want to celebrate this natural beauty of Berkeley and its local environs—the landscape, the climate, the weather, the animals, plants, the geology, and the ecosystem of the Berkeley Hills area.  Because of my background as a science writer and editor, I’ll try to bring the eyes of science as well as the eyes of love to what I write about.

So, welcome to Berkeley, Naturally!  I hope that my newcomer’s eyes will help your eyes see through the familiar to the extraordinary and better appreciate the amazing and beautiful place many of us call home.

Steve Goodheart

Steve Goodheart - profile

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22 responses »

    • Lin! I just discovered this comment of yours from months ago — sorry about that. I get overwhelmed by e-mails from my blogs sometimes, and lose track. I hope you have been “tagging along” and that you’ve been enjoying the posts.

      Thanks so much for stopping by,

      Steve

  1. Hi Steve,
    Your blog is beautiful. I’ve asked our webmaster to put a link to it on ours,
    savestrawberrycanyon.org.
    Good to talk to a man who knows about volcanoes–without prompting!
    Georgia (and hello from Bailly, the dog)

    • Georgia, thank you! What a sweet thing to say and do. I feel honored to have my link at your site, and I’ll do the same on my blog with the Save Strawberry Canyon link.

      I’m glad you liked what I’ve done. I wish I had more time for Berkelely Naturally, but I have two others as well, and my offline life! 🙂

      As for volcanoes, yes, one of the loves of my life has been learning about them. Doing the geology parts of science textbooks at Houghton Mifflin was just about my favorite subject. I did an “extreme science” feature on Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano in Northern Tanzania, which is famous for having the “coolest” lava of any volcano. Check it out here:

      http://frank.mtsu.edu/~fbelton/lengai.html

      For the feature, I had a fabulous image of the lava formations made by the natrocarbonatite lava…utterly surreal, because of the how liquid the lava is and how quickly it cools.

      It was so great and fortuitous to meet you on the firetrail in the Canyon, and to meet your dear new companion, Bailly.

      See you in the Hills!
      Steve

  2. Hi Steve,
    “Bing” brought me to your blog. I was looking for more scientific information on the Aleutian weather phenomena known up there as “Willawaws.” These days one can get an impression of the nastiness of the weather in the Aleutian chain by following the trials of the crabbers on TV. But when I lived up there 1953-54, on Dutch and on Adak, we lived with weather that could be counted on to change every fifteen minutes from one extreme to another.

    Prior to moving permanently to the “Sun Coast” of Florida in 1985, my wife and daughter and I lived in Hayward; we love the East Bay Hills. During the early Eighties, Christine and I built a large motor-sailing yacht for a man in Richmond. At night we’d drive home to work on our own boat, or to help Henri Sudderman in Alameda salvage his dream boat, the “Sea-Space” and the “Survivor.” (the latter is pictured on my blog: http://oldmackstales.com/.

    You have a nice blog, have a nice attitude and you’re a good writer. I enjoyed the visit.

  3. Great pictures! Can you share what camera and lens are you using to take these awesome shots? I also live in the Berkeley Hills near Tilden Park and feel inspires by you to take some pictures of my own.

    As for the Buddhist part, I enjoy mediating at the Berkeley Buddisht temple from time to time. I am trying to become more disciplined about daily practice because I know that when I do it I feel soooo much better. Any tips on that?

    Metta,
    RH

    • Hello neighbor! My apologies for the late reply; your message came while I was on vacation with my wife, and I was away most of that week.

      You are very kind about the pictures, because I really don’t consider myself much of a photographer and have a very modest camera — a FujiFilm FinePix F10. I have no idea what kind of lens it has, though it has a pretty good zoom. (I told you I was no photographer!) I’d love to get a better camera someday, one that will allow me to do extreme close-ups of the neat plants and little critters I often see in the Berkeley Hills.

      Tilden Park is way cool; my wife and I have walked there a few times. (We don’t own a car; we are big-time walkers.) From our place near the North Gate of the campus, we can walk up Euclid Avenue about 45 minutes until we hit Grizzly Peak Blvd. and then it’s not far to the road down into the park. I love the place and want to explore it a lot more.

      As for getting more regular about meditation, that can be a challenge, for sure, but I’ve gotten to the point that I see my “formal sitting” as just part of my day. I set a time for it (usually the same time) and I do it. It’s like setting an appointment with myself. During the day, I work on staying mindful, and I have some nice computer software (free — I happen to use a Mac) that I set to go off at intervals during the day, and at the chime, I stop and come back to myself and my get in touch with my breathing.

      I did a few posts on the software:

      http://mettarefuge.wordpress.com/2009/11/12/meditation-timing-software-for-the-mac/
      http://mettarefuge.wordpress.com/2010/06/04/even-more-meditation-aids-iphone-ipod-ipad/

      But all of this is just ancillary, of course. The big thing is to develop the ability to pay attention and be present. There are lots of posts at my Metta Refuge blog to help with this.

      Nice talking to you. I hope you follow-up on our picture-taking idea. We live in such an awesome, beautiful area, don’t we?

      All the best,
      Steve

  4. Your blog was a true surprise to me!! Not only that I love Berkeley Hills, but I also we share love for this beautiful blog template!! Keep up the good work!

    • Ievute,

      Glad my blog was a happy surprise for you! I enjoyed taking a look at your site, as well. It is indeed fun seeing someone with the same blog template.

      All the best to you on your path of creation and self-discovery,

      With best wishes,
      Steve

    • Dear Bob,

      My apologies for losing track of your very kind remarks, and for your fascinating links. I really enjoyed reading your post on Einstein, and you have a wonderful website. (Although I follow a Buddhist path, spent many years studying the yoga of Sri Aurobindo, and have a deep respect for the wisdom of the Indian sages.) If you haven’t already, be sure to stop by my other blog:

      http://mettarefuge.wordpress.com/

      When I can get some free time, I’ll take a closer took at your site.

      Thanks for stopping by and for sharing your life here.

      With warm regards,
      Steve

        • Bob, apologies for my late reply, and thanks for the updated link. I like what I see of Elephant Journal via Facebook, but I’ve felt that getting involved there would stretch me too thin. (What was a thinking starting up three blogs? lol!)

          I’ve saved your links, though, and well peruse at a later date.

          Alll the best,

          Steve

          • No problem, Steve. I understand “stretched too thin”.

            I don’t want to talk you into anything, but just keep in mind that writing for Elephant could be as simple as forwarding me a favorite piece now and then with your current bio. I would take it from there. It’s just a way of getting your best stuff to a wider audience easily. No extra work at all for you. Only more exposure, always with links back to your site.

            Some writers even just publish a portion of an article on Elephant with a link back to your site for the rest of the article.

            Meanwhile, since I see the ancient Yoga texts closely allied with the wonders of science, I think you may be interested in my interpretation of the Bhagavad Gita in http://bit.ly/a2sbNA . Please pass it on to anyone studying or teaching the Gita.

            Best wishes. Good luck with all your sites. And just consider e-mailing me an article someday. Any of your subjects. I can probably even lift it right off your blog to make it even easier for you.

            Bob Weisenberg
            ElephantJournal.com

            • Bob, you are so very kind and generous with your offers and support. I will definitely get back to you at some point. I’ve add this idea to my PIM so I won’t lose total track of it.

              Right now, I’ve got some very intensive freelance writing work to jump into, which is going to cut way down on my all my other writing until the end of the the month, it looks like.

              All the best to you, good sir!

              With warm metta,

              Steve

  5. Hi Steve,

    I just discovered your blog and immediately liked it, especially since it features our snowman. During lunch break, we (a small group of postdocs and grad-students from LBNL) drove up into the Berkeley Hills to make use of the unusual snow fall. During the night before, the very top of the hills had gotten a minimal amount of snow. We gathered enough snow for the body parts of the snowman, then drove back down with them and assembled the snowman on the Lab’s entrance sign where it enjoyed the sun shine and the proximity to world class science. Last year we did the same and if the weather allows, we are far from finished (http://www.lbl.gov/publicinfo/newscenter/tabl/december/12-17-08/index.html).

    Best wishes,
    Berkeley Lab’s anonymous snow man building team

    • Dear Berkeley Lab’s Anonymous Snowman Building Team (BLASBT),

      Totally awesome! I actually hope that whoever built the snowman might find their way to my blog! I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed coming upon this “anomaly.” I hope that this tradition lives on through the years, and of course, I’ll always be on the lookout for future work by BLASBT. 🙂

      Glad you liked me site. I wish I could post more often, but my other two sites keep me so busy. Still, I have a really fun one in the works and hope to post this week. It’s on one of the smaller denizens of the Berkeley Hills, but one that most people love.

      Best wishes to you all and to your work and careeers at LBNL…and beyond!

      Steve

    • Hello Annie. Thanks so much! I really enjoy writing about this beautiful area, and I’m glad what I’m doing is speaking to other hearts and minds as well.

      Your blog is simply wonderful! I couldn’t believe how cute your little ones are; big love and family sweetness shine from the images and your posts. I feel really blessed to have had this glimpse of your “sweet peas” and the love of your family.

      With all best wishes,
      Steve Goodheart

  6. Hi Steve, I have just discovered your wonderful site and have added you to our blogroll at Berkeleyside. I don’t know if you have come across our relatively new site — it covers news and views from and about Berkeley.

    Visit the site at http://www.berkeleyside.com.

    And do get in touch — it would be good to talk about possible collaborations.

    Best wishes,

    Tracey

    • Hello Tracey! Thanks so much for stopping by….I haven’t been blogging that long, but I could tell from my stats that I was getting visitors, but sometimes, as you know, you can feel like you are blogging out into the wild blue yonder, so to speak. It’s great finding a local connection like your great BerkeleySide site, which I hope to investigate in greater depth soon.

      I’ll be sure to add you to my Blogroll, too, as well as add the site to my References page. It’s really wonderful to learn that there’s another “live” blog celebrating the area.

      Collaborations sounds interesting. My particular focus is science and nature of the area, but there’s so much overlap, and the bottom line is opening our eyes and hearts to all the beauty and goodness we are blessed with in this.

      With all best wishes,
      Steve Goodheart

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