The wider setting

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Yesterday I hiked up into the hills again, this time through the Hiller Highlands neighborhood. It was clear enough to see the Farallon Islands standing crisp against the Pacific Ocean horizon. From a saddle on Grizzly Peak Road, just south of its intersection with Marlborough Terrace, I looked down into the steep, rocky swale where the fire of October 1991 began. It was sobering to sense how strenuous firefighting must be in this setting. Then I looked east, past the shoulder of Frowning Ridge, past a glimpse of wooded Orinda, past the inhabited hilltops of northern Lafayette, the bare ones beyond Clayton Valley and a few whitish hilltops behind them. Wait a minute, I thought, there ARE no hills beyond; that’s the Sierra Nevada. Apparently the area around Lake Tahoe. My little bayside city is a part of something very grand.

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