Photo by Jim Marsh

Of all the photos naturalist Jim Marsh has taken along the Calaveras River, this one would seem to be the least “natural.”

But it just might tell the story best.

Marsh has spent the past year regularly visiting a 3-acre portion of the Calaveras where native grasses were planted last winter in a modest effort to restore the glorified drainage ditch.

During his weekly visits, Marsh does what most of us would never think to do along that stream. He opens his eyes. There isn’t much to see yet in the restoration area, or so it would seem, but Marsh has found surprising beauty even in the smallest insects and flowers found at the site. He also listens to the ambient noise — the wind, the birds, the bustle of the surrounding city. His observations are written down in a journal.

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