In the heart of the dry Galiban Mountains of Central California, lava once flowed out of the earth. When it cooled, the lava formed an abstract battlement. Aki’s other human and I head toward it, winding our way between colliding boulders and under vertical walls of rough surfaced stone. As often happens while traveling away from Alaska, I find familar things in an unfamilar place. Here. along a shrinking stream, just before it enters a boulder field, is a patch of larkspur, one of my favorite flowers.