April, 2002 Archive

Ecolit Journal

Thursday, April 25th, 2002

4:40 p.m. Edge of Grassland above Dorms

Thirty two people around me have scrambled up the hill through the grassland.  Smell of manure. A cooling breeze.  Sky a variegated canvas of whites, grays, windows of blue.  Damp air.  Some oat grass has spilled seed, some still green.  Nasella pulchra intermixed. The whole city of SLO and the red roofs of the campus directly below.


So much of the land covered with cars.   Clouds lowering gray, turning to black underneath. The progress of summer and the degreening of the hills again arrested.  Spots where soil is thin are browner.  A glaring sun in a hole in the clouds changing intensity of the shadow of oatgrass on the page.  Shadow and light on the ground as varied as in the sky. The world in motion. Windwaves combing uphill through grass below as individual fronds sway around me.

8:30 p.m. Outcrop on Miossi Ranch

Now it’s dark, the crickets and frogs and freeway closeby are audible.

The 32 students in the oak tree were shivering after ninety minutes exposed to wind and low temperature, not really wanting to talk about Thoreau, but still intrigued to be assembled in the same tree.

I have a good grasp on “Walking” and the five chapters I teach of Walden.  But I know too little about the rest of his work and his life and the body of criticism about it.

Four of us hiked down here from the top of Poly Mountain where we’d met Dusty through wild flowers and the fresh yucca whose flowers we ate, laughing at the meeting and sense of escape as we headed over the hill into the backcountry.  He was on the front page of the newspaper today for his brilliant installation in the library atrium.



How long will this remain back country?  When will it be moved to the front?


Ecolit Journal

Thursday, April 18th, 2002

Sycamore Glen

Crickets, meadowlark, late rain and continuing cool snap reversed the progress of the season which had been accelerated by the dry hot days following last week’s night out.  I was expecting to walk further, to overnight atop the Citadel, but I’m not into any further effort or movement.


I’m allowed to feel tired, to take a rest after six months of relentless work and anxiety about the Field Guide.  Today, after several days of frustration, I was able to print out the color proof and the black and white copy-editing text for Melody.  This is the end I’ve striven for for so long, though another will emerge as the actual publication date approaches.  The stress and drive required to bring so many parts to this point have taxed me to my limits.  And now my feet are sore and my thoughts are relaxing and my eyes are closing.