jb:  As a native Californian, I’ve always thought it funny when people (especially ones who’ve never been to California) insist that we don’t have fall here. After visiting the east coast during the fall, I finally understood why they thought that. Because back east fall is FALL – unmistakably AUTUMN, with every tree dramatically dressed in yellow, orange and red; their fall is glorious and impossible to miss. But here in California, you could miss fall, if you’re not looking closely. Our fall is subtle, sneaky, brief and beautiful. If you blink, you’ll be in winter — with dead branches, leafless trees, grey skies, and sometimes rain for three whole days in a row. (Yes, our winters are subtle, too. But I’m not complaining and I think anyone who insists that we don’t have winter here is just jealous. But that’s another story.)

I love that our seasons are subtle because they wake me up and make me pay attention. Rainy day? Quick put on a sweater, light a fire and make some stew — it might be sunny tomorrow, so let’s make the most of the rainy day today. See that flaming-red-leafed tree surrounded by evergreens? That’s special and it’s not going to last long, so enjoy it now. To me, California seasons are just like life… you gotta pay attention and make the most of whatever you get, while it lasts.

j: Looking for a particular photo recently, I came across this one, which I took in January of 2010. I was sad, and I remember how the image stopped me in my tracks, how an entire story played itself out in my mind – a tragedy of absence, of stillness and silence where clearly there should be motion and sound. My memory of that day, the moment when I took this picture hit me with such force; for just a few seconds, I was right there, lifting the camera, getting the shot, believing (or trying to) that the tears obstructing my vision were the result of that story I’d made up in an instant, not the one I was creating in my real life, scene by scene, every single day.

I made up a new story this time, where this is just an instant of stillness, the instant before a girl scrambles on board, scraped knees and a wild heart, grabs hold of the ropes, kicks off, and takes flight.