Flavia PotenzaBy Flavia Potenza

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TRANSITIONS
When Margot “Bay” Barton Alexander decided to see if anything was left of the Barton School and property in Topanga where she grew up, she received a sweet surprise. (See facing page 3)
I love my job but even more so when a heartwarming story like the one in the photo above and on the facing pa ge 3 surprises us. It really is our reason for being: to be able to share these gentle reflections of what it is to be a community. As October teeters on the cusp of autumn, activity heightens towards the rush to the oncoming holiday season. Human events are speeding out of September as if Halloween can’t come soon enough (Page 14). I saw my first Santa Claus while shopping the other day, the monsters of October still crowding the shelves. August and September were unusually wet so nature’s summer greens are transitioning more slowly into their transcendent fall palette before settling into winter, also predicted to be wet. Pages 4-5 are a recap of Fire Safety Day reminding us to remember it is still fire season and we need to be prepared, not only for fire but also for floods and earthquakes. In the October offerings is the promise of a burgeoning Garden Club, the availability again of CityRide to accommodate our seniors with needed transportation (Page 13), the new iteration of the Topanga Artists’ Studio Tour and the Topanga Film Festival (Page 5). Chris Conway returns with harvesting the abundant crops of summer into fall, not only cannabis but also golden plums (Pages 6-7), and Joel Bellman shares his admiration for Ireland following his and his wife’s recent visit (Pages 8-9). Sarah Spitz gives a rave review of Every Brilliant Thing (Page 10), Paula LaBrot discusses the latest word in our technical lexicon: “Influencers” (Page 11), and if you missed Kathie Gibboney’s column last time, here it is now, “If a tree falls…” (Page 12) Sadly, we learned that artist Leslie Doolin passed away but her sons carry on her legacy in Topanga Art Tile. A memorial is yet to be announced. (Page 13). The Move. In a quiet break from the chaos of moving to a new home, I braided thin pieces of string to support a trellis and tame a rangy vine that inclined itself to tickle my ear or poke me in the eye. The braiding felt therapeutic. I wondered, my fingers deftly weaving the strands, when I first learned to braid. As a child, it may have been a forced skill when my mother insisted I learn to braid my own pigtails. We finally agreed I was aging out of pigtails and cut my hair. In the respite from unpacking boxes, I also watched Tom Cat leap from his now favorite lookout atop the roof of my tiny house to the tree in our yard. Birdie, stone-still as a statue, watched and waited all the while calculating when and where to pounce. Whoosh! In a second Tom was under the deck as was Birdie’s head in pursuit as her rump, held high, tail proudly waving, proclaimed victory in the joy of the chase. This is a no-kill impulse for a dog who has no sheep to tend. I tied the braid around the trellis proclaiming my own victory with a tidy bow. Moving house didn’t quite kill me but it’s a long recovery from pure & simple exhaustion. The day of the Big Move, when everything was delivered and piled in the yard, the crew boss, Roberto (highly recommended by Gary Jensen and now me), advised me as he left at the end of a grueling day, to buy tarps because it looked like rain. For once, I followed good advice and bought the biggest tarps I could. Then panicking because they were too big for me to handle, I called Roberto for help. He came with his wife and extra plastic sheeting. I provided tape to stick it all together. He took charge and moved like lightening, donning a headlamp as night descended. That night it poured hard enough to wake me up but I knew all my stuff was safe, as were I and my animals. We had a roof over our heads… in Topanga.
Flavia Potenza

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