Monday, March 14, 2005 | I will swap you a list of what’s on my mind at this moment for one from you:

1. The hollow silence of leadership out here at San Diego’s precipice.

2. The joy I feel at this moment, looking out my office window at a camellia that is diligently transforming itself from an orphan runt. If any of you has a “Sunset Western Garden Book” that is three or four years out of date, please look under Camellias in the right-hand column of a right-hand page for a three-line listing near the top of the page that led me to order it. It said something like “some enthusiasts call this little-known variety the world’s finest camellia.” But I’ve lost its name and not even Cathy and Lee Smith out at their Campo nursery can find the order. This camellia deserves a nearby friend.

3. Those chic binational party-goers on Saturday night at the Museum of Natural History. When Mick Hager came down from Montana years ago to untangle the museum’s former management, he brought a natural scientist’s moxie. Geologic and climatic geography link San Diego with much of the Baja peninsula but not northward even as far as Los Angeles. Hager and his board wisely looked south and joined with Mexican ecologists to explore science and preservation in Baja California. That move also leads to an annual evening of cross-border haute couture that’s unique among San Diego parties. Quiet news of the party night: Dr. Exequiel Ezcurra, who’s been on leave from the Museum of Natural History to serve as president of the National Institute of Ecology in Mexico City, will return soon to the San Diego museum.

4. The future of the cross on Mount Soledad has been debated so furiously for so many years that it has become a farce, a delusionary issue for some who don’t take the same interest in salvaging a city government or making peace among neighbors. (And I don’t think the feuding over the Children’s Pool and the seals does much for the local image either. If we moved the cross to the beach, would it bother seals or children?)

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