Ecolit Journal

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?


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