Mid Pines, California consists of a country store and gas station, a post office, and something like 341 scattered human beings in the foothills of the Sierra Mountains. It's pretty there and it's dry this time of year. But despite the heat and the dryness, no one wants to leave these hills.
My grandson Johann (below), his big brother Shayne, my eldest son Chris, and his saintly wife, my sweet daughter-in-law, Regina live there in Mid Pines. Johann just celebrated his 5th birthday in Mid Pines. He has a nonstop motor and his vocabulary includes words like "realistically" and "indefatigable". I am gapingly agog.
Life isn't easy around Mid Pines and my son, Chris, knows full well how much he has to pay for his hillside dream. It's summer and dry grasses have blossomed to fill every sunny, treeless spot with danger; it's fire season. Below, Chris searches for the right nut to repair his weed wacker.
The last, big fire in these hills burned as close as the brown ridges in the photo's background. Too close for comfort; close enough to force an evacuation. The fire risk is the paramount consideration for Mid Pineans at this time of year. I'm wishing them a cool and uneventful summer.
The hills all around Chris' front porch were green when I left him Sunday morning. There are neighbors around these hills, but you don't often see them until you come down from your place.