Up High

I sit twenty five feet up in the branches of the great live oak, on the deck of the tree house. Inside is drenched by rain that’s fallen through a gash in the roof. I’m enjoying a break in the weather that probably wont last long enough to finish writing this entry. The hike up was easier than expected, aided by two new gaps in the fence and enough fresh grass to allow evasion of the worst mud.

I’ve moved indoors. The intact half of the roof keeps the drops that penetrate the canopy from blotting my words. What do we need for shelter? This makes the cabin at Walden a McMansion by comparison. No lake, but the occasional stream flows within view, down the middle of a gully covering the underground watercourse that allows this tree to grow so large. The lichen coating its elephantine limbs now is bright green. The slope that tilts almost to vertical just above the uphill edge of the canopy bursts with new vegetation, hastening to stabilize and clothe itself before it’s undermined from below by slumpage or eroded from above by runoff.

On the way here I noticed water sheeting off driveways and pouring out of drainage pipes embedded in the sidewalk, gathering in the gutters and racing down the gentle slope of the street. All that water from these tiny municipal lots, looking for a place to go because it cant soak into the ground or find its natural channels. Further along the flow increases and suddenly disappears with a roar. Tucked under the lip of the sidewalk a grated storm sewer opening three concrete squares wide. This is where the stream draining the whole valley between Poly Mountain and our Alta Vista hill must once have run, starting at the top near the Admin building, going by the site of the PAC, under the track and practise field, down to Palm Street, then California, then Monterey then Santa Rosa, before emptying into San Luis Creek.

Beyond the sewer opening, the water flowed toward me, a thick foam-edged meander crossing Grand Ave. next to the parking kiosk.

Its been raining for weeks. The one sunny day I remember since the funeral in Paso Robles was Thursday the 31st: Focus the Nation Day. May it be remembered as a historic one.

Focus the Nation Cal Poly slideshow

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