volume 25 of in america: 2012 may-october  work & days: a lifetime journal project  

















Summer on the Mesa. A lot of photos and bits of writing posted on Here. Part 1 take the Coast Starlight from Vancouver back to San Diego. Parts 2-3, hot and dry, set up an outside bed, am a bit back together with Tom, meetings with neighbours. Part 4, turn on the terrace fountain and it brings birds. Part 5, first autumn rain and fog photos.

Notes: Dorothy Richardson Revolving lights and Deadlock, house ants, human origins, mountain lions, Viveca Genaux singing Handel, ten Bosch, Susan Maier-Moul, Frederick Smith The self possessed, Kasarova and Netrebko in Capuleti et Montecci at Beyerische Staadtsoper, Viginia Woolf on Dorothy Richardson, Sarah and Savannah Church singing Near the cross by Fanny Crosby, Walter Ong, US Army basic training videos, Wehling The end of pain, Madeleine Miller The song of Achilles, pill bugs, hobo spiders, George Walley, Samuel Menashe, Peter Redgrove, David Remnick on Bruce Springsteen, Martin Prechtel The unlikely peace of Cuchumaquic, Lawrence Marks The language of the senses: the dynamics of perception, Leaves of grass, Ruskin, Coleridge, Wordsworth, Thoreau, attachment styles, Michelle Obama, Bill Clinton, epigenetic influence on gene expression, Armand Schwerner, Naomi Wolf Vagina: a new biography, Wittgenstein, Tompkins and Bird The secret life of plants, Iipay practices with plants, hidden camera video of Romney, acorn woodpeckers and other local birds, EJH Corner, Gillian Welch and David Rawlings, Ursula Le Guin Always coming home, Space hotel, Walter Kaufmann Hegel: a reinterpretation, Freud letters to Breuer, naked ladies, video series of The jewel in the crown.

Louie, Tom Fendler, Jerry Reznick, Rowen, Paul Kinsella, Paul Epp, Mary Epp, Leah Rosling, Leah Wiebe, David Beach, Dorothy Beach, Emilee Baum Trucks, Luke, Jim Maxwell, Annie Rowley, Barbara at the pie shop, Frank Doerksen, Janeen Postman, Ed Epp, Linda Dexter, Greg Morrison, Joaquin and Maria Ojeda, Norman Feigel, Bob Windrim, Peter Dyck, Jam Ismail, Keith Merrick, Angelo Mulla.

25245 Mesa Grande Rd, Santa Ysabel, Ramona, Black Canyon Rd, San Francisco Airport, Caffé Calabria, Commercial Drive, Blenz on Hastings, Zero Avenue, Fraser River, Vancouver Skytrain, CN Station, Coast Starlight train, Tacoma, NAR line, Sacramento, Salinas, Camp Roberts, San Luis Obispo, Santa Monica, Belair, Hollywood, West Hollywood, Silver Lake, Westwood, Beverly Hills, Union Station in Los Angeles, Getty Museum, La Brea Tar Pits, Santa Ana, San Juan Capistrano, Oceanside, Leucadia, Solana Beach, 3663 Georgia St, Julian Pie Shop, Don's Market, Angel Mountain, Lestat's in San Diego, Plainfield VT, Kendall's Restaurant in Borrego Springs, Julian Clinic, Santa Ysabel Art Gallery.

The agency of bliss, The magazine of yoga, Obama's Affordable Care Act, Fillmore's deixis lectures, Carol Gilligan, Ann Southam Simple lines of enquiry, National Democratic Convention, Hélène Grimaux and Sol Gabella playing piano/cello duets, David Brooks, Yo Yo Ma playing Bach, Joe Garcia paintings.

Vancouver May 28 2012

In all these meetings with old friends there's a quality of hearsay. This isn't the person I knew but I'll go along with the fiction that it is. 

31 May

It was better by the river, wide flat surface rapidly flowing west. Taste of balsam poplar in my mouth, Mary and I holding Nootka roses for their scent, we two sitting on a rock, Paul standing, a robin scratching noisily in the leaves. I was happy to be with Paul remembering things like sucking pussy willows and the balsam poplar scent along the road next to the creek, our mother or father calling us to eat by honking the Mercury's horn, headlights at night and listening to the truck shift down at the corner. Mary was there with us, it seemed. We were kidding her. She asked what had been the worst she'd done to us. Paul laughed and told the story of the time she washed his mouth with soap. We agreed there'd been hardly anything bad.

1st June

The best thing yesterday Leah Wiebe and her house and garden up the street. Her dimples and ringed silver-blue eyes and eager spirit. The way she arrived just as David and I were standing at her gate and took us through to her banked garden beds and brick paving and orange rhododendron and beautiful house bootlegged into the back shed - her smart inventions and she among them so bright and lovely, generous and bold. The long table I laid out my thesis chapters on. My kitchen chair with yellow paint in its creases, a fireplace insert like piled glowing coals. Two armchairs in her upstairs bedroom. The good narrow stairs.

Then David shooting down the old river road in the little yellow truck that next time will be gone. Dorothy just turned 99, sitting reading a book with a large magnifying glass, reading the first paragraph of the chapter aloud twice because she had forgotten she'd read it. There was the old house swamped in leaves as always, and the soft air heaven-scented, and silver light on the river, but this time the magic didn't take.

From the skytrain clumps of dames rocket here and there in many corners of waste ground, blackberries yards deep.


I'm tired, want to be sitting on the train moving slowly through wet grass.

2nd, Seattle train station.

Taxi driver, $5 fare. I give him $10. "I have two ones," he says. "I have four ones," I say. He jumps out and asks another driver for change. I give him a dollar tip.

Dark damp day.


Coast Starlight, Amtrak

Queen Anne's lace, vine maple, hemlock, black poplar, some low yellow flower thick in patches, elder, willow, mustard, horsetail, nettle, blackberry, bulrush. Sumner Wash. rhubarb capital of North America. Gorse, daisies.

Saturday morning. Water standing on fields, geese, buttercups, yellow iris, alder, salmonberry, brown creek with tall saplings fallen across, locust.

Tacoma, railcars in the yard, complicated fading graffiti, flowing American flag.

Paul still calls her Mom. I never do.

Gravel on the railbed shades of grey and rust, facets sharply separated by shadow. Chinese container ship called the Good Luck. Buddleia along the tracks. Sun. Northern Fish Co. Long tunnel and then here's Tacoma Narrows. Geese on the beach bending their necks to sip fresh water rippling through the sand.

Divers stumping toward the water's edge carrying tanks. Pierce County Ferry.

Seven drunks with a loud phone.

Two really old women opposite. Wide stretch of patterned mud, winding little channels. Two-lane blacktop below grade, double yellow line, car keeping pace. I remember that sleek green river. Fir, foxglove, water lilies, ferns, oh bulkers how do you let it pile on like that. She brought up a packet of doughnut holes. TV in the hotel room this morning smiling people selling smooth skin, tight muscles, redemption, baby fawns.

Twenty square miles of mysterious mounds. Rowen and I on the couch before he comes with me to the station lays his head on my shoulder. He's all awash.

Gorse in ugly lumps.

Salem. Sun on the west side of the train.

The train when I was seven, overnight from Edmonton. I was traveling alone. Seat on the right side of the train, wooden windowsill, waxed paper cup of water had black dust settle on it overnight. Mighty Mouse comic, the man walking the aisle selling pop - Orange Crush in a brown bottle - and comics - rented out pillows too and let me have one. NAR line. In the morning I was worried that I wouldn't know when to get off. I think I recognized the yellow house where the La Glace road crossed the track, that I thought looked like another kind of house, adobe.

Paul saying that during sermons he studied the way the church was made. Tie rods across, lamps on long chains.


Eugene. Judie's hair is pure white, she's stopped coloring it.

The time Paul was with other boys at a dugout and they were going to teach him to swim. They towed him out but then abandoned him. He sank. He realized it wasn't far to the edge and just walked out along the bottom.

We asked if that had been his first drink. It was in high school. He was out with friends. They took off his pants and threw them on a roof. He was afraid worse would follow but they brought back his pants and gave him a beer.

"Sense is not common" says the bar car attendant.

Starting to climb into the Klamath range.

Pale horizontal sun.

Purple vetch, California poppies.


What did he say, "I'm five eight," taking off his cap and stroking his thick grey hair. "I used to be six one. I shrunk five inches. My dick shrunk two inches. My liver shrunk." His name is Eric. He's sick, he says. He has the seat next to me but went off to the bar car. Green pants held up with suspenders, beard, scraggles of dirty hair behind his ear. Retired welder. Small farm in Michigan, his dad had four sons when he married his mom. Parkinson's. "It's in the blood." He's vociferous, yells that Canada is pacifist, the Chinese will take over. I say calm down. He says it's the Parkinson's.

Long smears of colored cloud across the west. Mountain peaks under them. We've been in sandy pine country for hours.

"You're silver grey" he said. He was looking at the reflection on the glass beside me, "Double jeopardy." He had big eyes held wide, was a loud talker, five months younger than me. He was in an end care facility three months ago. Lives in a trailer on the Rim in Arizona.

Moon a couple of days from full.

What's this vast flat plateau. I've seen it in snow haven't I.

The propane tanks along the tracks he said are for heating switches.

3 June

Good morning Sacramento. Apricot sunrise. Old wild man Eric on the platform below the window arranging his roll-on. Looks like a clean shirt. He left me both seats overnight, "Do what you need to," took his pillow and jacket to the next car. How he told me about the stars on the Rim, both hands over his head zooming them down.

Clear sky. Put up my head and saw a palm tree.

Diablo Mountains.

Strawberry fields at Salinas, Queen Anne's lace thick, fennel, egrets in the marsh. Mustard and Queen Anne's lace. Artichokes.

Sometime during the drifty night a sweet swift little come.

Perfect evenness of rows of crops. Large camp under an overpass.

First time I took this train I was wearing work boots spray-painted silver and had a little boy who'd flown to England.

Completely bare hills worn to chalk.

I only caught half Eric's talk but didn't he say "You're real"?

Now we're coming into the best country. One o'clock seating. Oaks. Cottonwoods and willows either side of a dry crik. We're rising. Camp Roberts, vast base. Satiny glow on those hills, is it wild oats.

Swaths drying. Golden stacks of bales.

Serpentine outcrops.

Live oaks' best dark green.

People put up with tinny crashing sound from their digital devices, that makes my ear canal feel scraped.

5 June, Amtrak, 3 o'clock train from Union Station.

Santa Ana, scrap metal yards, pipes, tires. Pre-owned auto mall.

Dying orange orchard, a few of the trees still bearing. San Juan Capistrano, "This is going to be a very brief station stop." Brilliant-leafed plum tree. Jacaranda. Matilija poppy clumps in high flower. Bougainvillea on the wire fence, San Diego red. River bed in concrete sleeve. Piles of chopped wood, shaped dirt.

- Here's the sea. Brilliant green, blue band along the horizon. Beach houses on tight lots. Foam. O lifting green glass. Reed fields.

Loved the smell when we got out of the car at the tar pits. Spots on the tarry surface where something was bubbling up from primeval depths into the center of a vast complicated city.

Ocean, ocean below. Tom's purple-flowering banks. Lone walker on the washed sand.

Mesa Grande June 9

Tom and I saw a turkey hen moving circumspectly in the corner of long grass I've left for compost. Then one by one fuzzy pullets, was it six, or ten, coming after her in little leaps.

I've been back two days. Am in the chair in quite a cool breeze looking out onto hills where the grass is almost completely dry.

Am I back with Tom? I'm not wanting to ask. I told him I'd had his photo next to my bed in Vancouver and his heart opened wide, he said. I was lying in my own bed at his house feeling something like desire and when his massage got down to the lower halves of my bum cheeks and he said he should stop or he'd transgress. I said, Oh, transgress.

Next day drove back with me looking fine in his new jeans and black summer shirt. We had a short sharp fight on Black Canyon Road. I wanted to drive. He took it straight to insult, stared at me - we were stopped on the road - and said You know what, fuck you. What did I say, something completely disarming he said later, like Nevertheless . I seethed, then spoke up and he saw my reason, "You're making points now," and I got to drive, which made me happy. So then we arrived and the house was alright, ate chicken and salad under the oaks, he drinking tamarindo he was delighted to find at the Albertson's in Ramona. I liked hearing him talking about writing and about his newsletter committee and his dream when he was little, of rising with his bed and floating over Philadelphia.

11 June

Plagues of mice, flies and ants. So many small flies come around my head that I can't sit on the bench outside. Processions of small ants climbing into the plant pots on the sill looking for water. Dead mouse on the mudroom floor this morning. Sore eyes from the dryness.

16 June

Did a Santa Ana wake me. Blowing this morning from the east. I was woken by dryness maybe - eyes, sinuses up into my forehead, skin of my lips. Have been feeling how the house shelters me - from flies, ants, dryness, the snake, even mountain lions, which I'd wonder about if I were sleeping out.

17 June

Two o'clock, 90 degrees, the hottest it's been. Sunday afternoon. The fridge shudders off. Bit of a breeze hissing through the hard oak leaves, comes in with a scent of hot pine.

The front of the house faces oat-colored savannah. The back faces oak forest. A few yellow leaves already on the locusts.

Airplane's singing growl. A moth like a floating leaf crosses bright in front of the shaded side of the pine.

20 June

This afternoon the cattle are bawling continuously down beyond the hill, did Norman ship calves.

21 June

Sometimes very briefly imagining the world as locked and moving patterns of invisible non-substance - how that would look, a visualization.

Locked out when I got back from the library, going around the side of the house with a ladder, seeing a snake laid lengthwise on the dry leaves next to the treeroom steps, so still I'm wondering if it's dead. Four feet long, brown bands. I move sideways but pause. Don't see rattles. When I've got in through the kitchen window I go back with the camera. It's gone. Am thinking now it's a gopher snake hunting and maybe living under the house. Schlange - that word from long before I'd seen a snake, a Sunday school word.

22 June

I like the moments before the sun is over the horizon, when the hills glow evenly bright.


Nearly 7. Four turkey hens coming up from the pasture with maybe two dozen quail-sized pullets. They have a route under the pine down into the stream-cleft west of the house. Could hear a lot of rustle as they made their way.

I love the smell of cooking apricots -

24 June

There's a wind today, southeast, strong enough to keep off the flies. Sunday afternoon, sun very nearly overhead, so the oak's shadow is thrown straight down. Warm scented dry air, soft buffet on the face's skin. Grasshoppers flowing like blown leaves off the stone pine's edge. Motorcycles growling down on Mesa Grande. Smell of strawberries on my fingers - warm strawberries, that long-ago smell. Isn't it the best possible air, warm lit upland air - clair et beau said Luke, who found the poem in the old Vancouver library and wrote it in his journal. Luke who likes his name.

The long breaths of the three pines in the corner where the hawk settled on a middle branch just now. There goes his shadow on the grass.

Suddenly saw that I shd dedicate Mind and land to Frank and Janeen. Just their names.

Wind in the oak canopy scrapes dryly, in the stone pine is a dark soft roar.

Tiny ticks, grasshoppers landing.

The air is extraordinarily spiced, different than yesterday.

26 June

What was that conference of birds, a dozen raptors circling over Angel Mountain, different kinds - one must've been a bald eagle, white head and tail. One was pale pink, was that a ferruginous hawk? Turkey vultures. I saw them from the driveway as I was going to back up toward Angelo's to get a couple of flat rocks for my steps.

I worked all morning, boots, gloves, cap, workshirt, moving stone with the heavy iron wheelbarrow, hacking at hard ground with pick and the flat-sided shovel I went up to the cabin to borrow. At first I was stopping every couple of minutes to let my heartbeat settle but then I used breath to shift gears and had the kind of hours I love, steady work with stone. I'm proud to have stone steps instead of the messy ramp I was slipping on.

Brought over the old sawhorse from the tractor shed too, have it next to the chair for my teacup. Its tool shelf can hold pencils and a sharpener, binocs.

27 June

From the chair at nine in the morning, the view has a ripe look, a blue plum bloom on the hills.

For a week I had nightmares every night. In one I stepped out of a house into twilight. The world was engulfed in a meteor stream and I could see rocks falling from the sky, plunging into the river in front of me.

His face changed in subtle ways as I sat with him on the last day of his life. I knew where we were. I knew what was happening; we both did. We both knew I wasn't there to help him or to give him medication, to get right with him or tell him something before he died. I wasn't even there to say goodbye. I just wanted to be with him.

When my father was dying his face had all his ages in it all the ages he had ever been, all at once and with a kind of transparent clarity that seared away my anxiety and dread. I could feel myself resist his beauty because it changed everything to accept it. It made talking about loss, for example, a figure of speech: convenient more than accurate, convenient because how would I ever describe what was really happening.

Susan - what about her - brilliant bad Susan. Take up your bed and follow me. She said, and I didn't trust her. For good reasons I didn't trust her, and yet what she turned on was the right thing. The point is to live where I was reminded to live by her. Thou'rt neither, neither thy capacity.

What needs to be finished. The death I've been wanting is that death. What needs to be finished first.

In the meantime this glistening small hayfield running with birds, this jiggling canopy, this air.

Jesus / keep me near the cross
There my glory / ever
Free to all / a healing stream
Flows from Calvary's / fountain

That came into my head - what Christians used to know about intensity, what we sang.

There a little yellow-legged grasshopper lit on the page. Its small grip on my fingertips, the strong kick as it leapt away.

Cattle crying in the hollow.

She quotes Frederick Smith on 'consciousness':

because of the abuse, confusion, and ambiguity of this word revealed in contemporary discursive practice, I have avoided it wherever possible.

She says "I was in constant good company as I read."

What is sought after through development of the body "is 'altered states' but not 'of consciousness' but of the body." This can also be said whether the possession is deemed positive or negative.

She quotes someone, "Power is the ability to take one's place in whatever discourse is essential to action and the right to have one's part matter."

28 June

Obama's health care law upheld by the Supreme Court this morning. Tom phoned right away.

29 June

What sort of visit it was. Many kinds of moment that somehow as I drove away alone from the bus summarized as love. He was what he is, loud, but he'd catch himself and ask me something. He lay on the couch with a round hairy belly peeking between his shirt corners but he smacked it later and said he must work on it this summer. I had disaffected moments but I didn't exactly hate him. When he'd been telling me much too much about why Pilgrim is mad at him and I hauled him short he said, It's because I want you to know everything about me. So then I had one hand lightly on his ribs and one lightly on his brushcut making a circuit of brief perfect liking. We were lying in my bed in the dark. He takes my stops and crotchets so forgivingly.

July 1st

I'm reading what she wrote in London in 1920 nearly 100 years later in a place where there are open miles instead of thoughts. Breeze from the southeast swaying the canopy. Chair facing blue Mount Cuyamaca with its much-dotted foothills. Fields now the color of wheat. Woodpeckers when they fly draw a white band around themselves.

In under a spotlight now. The sun directly overhead, even a bit north of directly overhead, shining white on the page through a hole in the twigs.

- I won't always be here in this air, with a pink hawk circling somewhere above, in an unimaginedly right chair under a blue oak above golden slopes. There won't always be this long branch reaching forward over my head lit from below by stubble all alive with dry-grass-colored grasshoppers.

2 July

- There are the turkey children with their blue-headed mothers. I hear one burbling, purring, behind me. Footsteps crackling in the straw. - Treading through the periwinkle, where grasshoppers are spraying up. - And moving on all outlined in light. The mothers stop and stretch their necks to listen.

Then pinned a turkey feather to drawing paper and photographed it with its shadow, and there it is posted, a lovely subtle thing.

3 July

When I come out of any of my four doors there's always a scuttle of some creature - always. When I come through the periwinkle down the path always something I can't see rustling away under the bent stems.

4 July

G says "Well, a studio shot, as it were, against a white background. The needle and the shadow make the picture, I'd say."


you knew I would love this
yours is a feather and more
the mating of worlds
water air fire earth even and ether too
you are a marvelous eye

7 July

He told the paramedic he was overbearing. She said, "What?" He repeated it. He meant he had been bearing too much. He was on the bench beside me. A lot of very red blood on his forearm and his shorts, a deep clot across his wrist. He'd come to the open door calling to me to phone for an ambulance.

Two sheriffs in big SUVs, an ambulance, a fire truck, Linda and Gary in their golf cart.

Now it's next morning and I'm still rehearsing. In what way. A couple of things. One is feeling for their misfortune, which is that they are not adequate to themselves. They were trying, they were doing their best, but there was having to move, all those trips with a little trailer, and then the car running out of gas, and not having a phone, and her paranoia coming back so that she suddenly quit her job because she thought someone said something bad about her kid, and being out of money, and the check not in the mailbox yesterday, and the fact that he'd asked his family to send him a ticket and she found out about it, and all their stuff still lined up along the driveway, and her 30 years with the Mormons, and a rape sometime back then, and a West African husband who had that kind of attitude to women, and moving from Oregon to California, and for him having been in jail nine years ago, and the fact that his brothers and sisters are all successful and he's a screw-up, and a couple of pit bulls to feed, and those two beautiful little girls.

- Here's the sheriff who came to check on her this morning. A sheriff and the minister there until nearly ten last night calming her down, I suppose, and assessing.

He wanted to escape and found a way to do it that lets him off the hook for abandoning her. Wrote a note, went into the bathroom and broke a razor blade in half. Fell asleep, he says, and when he came to ran down the hill to me. "I need help." "You're a kind lady."

The other way is going over how I was in it. I went out barefoot among the neighbours and firemen and sheriffs. It didn't seem important to hide my foot. When the 911 dispatcher was asking her list of questions there were a couple of things I didn't want Nick to hear me saying. She asked, "What color is his hair?" I hesitated and then said, "There isn't much of that." "He's bald?" Yes. She asked, "Is he black, white, Asian, or Hispanic?" I said "I don't think that question is appropriate to answer." She asked "What color shirt is he wearing?" He wasn't wearing a shirt but I didn't want to say that either. I said, "It will be obvious" and she let it go and passed me through to the EMT people to give them directions.

When the sheriff wanted to take my statement, he said "Let's go inside," which was tactful because Nick was still on the bench. I said, "Sit down," I meant in the one chair, and he did, so he was taking notes at my desk while I was standing in front of him. I liked him. He had a humane smart-enough look. Then later when he wanted to finish taking my statement in front of Gary and Linda, I said "Let's go inside." I didn't want it to be the gang of sane people standing around talking about the wild people. It did become that later though, and I could understand the good in it, people needing to know what's going on in their neighbourhood because they are the sort of people who look after things. At the same time the unpleasantness of bonding by means of saying things about other people.

I'm on the bench in sunglasses. There's a rabbit snooping all around, who came close, I thought because he couldn't see my eyes. His face with his long ears up reminded me of a deer, and at the same time he seemed a little rodent. He was edging toward the least spikey haworthia, which he has nibbled before.

8 July

What I'm understanding more about living in this country is why people are nervous about anyone they don't know. One unstable or ignorant person can bring disaster onto everyone. For instance Nick saying he could like to make a bonfire.

Linda telling about the woman who liked to jog down to the mailboxes until she saw a mountain lion crossing the road just there, and about the deer she saw gutted by a lion on her yard. She watches for vultures. One year it was two of Norman's calves.

The pullets are looking more like turkeys, longer paler jerkier necks. There are still the same number of them, the mothers have taken good care.

9 July

Hello Monday. Sweet clear Monday 7:30. I slept right through and woke in daylight hearing turkeys chuckling and purring under the window.

Letter from G last night saying he was taken aback by Misery and meaning he thinks it's inappropriate to the project to stick in anything so confessional. I looked at it just now and liked it a lot. It's interesting and quite balanced-feeling. I wrote back about ways a life in art is hard. G is too frightened of emotional pain, it limits him.

When I was in high school and college I worked like mad because I loved succeeding: there was a framework for unambiguous and immediate success that I still believed in. Art is not like that. Best work often succeeds unobviously or after a long delay or not at all. It's a hard way to live.

10 July

Drove from Julian and stopped to open the gate in 100 degrees in the shade. I came up the lane waving my whole arm out the window reveling in the bath of hot air.

11 July

A squirrel on his back legs on the gatepost rock staring toward the north end of the cedar windbreak chipping. I see its little mouth opening and closing as regularly as if it were a little automaton. A single note very high and as loud as a whistle. I can have no idea what it's about.

12 July

Thinking of David Mann and Doris in their tent on the banks of a green river, he 25 and she five months pregnant. "I would go to the river which was about 50 feet from us and catch enough trout for our supper."

She wanted cremation and we decided that should the necessity arise, the Maligne River in Jasper would be the final resting place for the ashes. We chose the Maligne I suppose because of its wild turbulent yet alive nature and because we had spent such good and wonderful years together on its banks.

13 July

Black Canyon Road two months later, very changed but still an hour of rapturous color. The road almost white and always turning. Banks and slopes grey, rust, taffy-colored, with gardens of cream-colored buckwheat flowers hung from dark granite or fox-red sand banks. The taffy color is parched mustard stalks or grass, the grey is some other dried thing that at a distance covers the slopes with mauve patches. Closer up, rosy long fronds of white sage seed stalks, or the littler mauve flower stalks of dudleya. Everywhere spalted rock faces in endless variations of color.

This afternoon there was a dark sky ahead to the north, with once a ray of sun on the white road where it came around a corner miles, miles, ahead. I was steering with my right arm, a lot of steering, window down, seatbelt undone, third gear, never faster than 15 mph, often no gas, just touches of the brakes, looking everywhere, perfectly absorbed.

At the top end there began to be a smell of wet hay or heated grain. I hadn't seen it on the dirt road but on the asphalt it was obvious that it had rained. Puddles at the gate, and when I was coming up the lane enough of a pelt so I had to turn on the wipers. Loud run-off onto the patio rock. Came in and opened all the doors to the hay scent, which is reaching me on the couch as I'm drinking Louie's organic Himalyan tea.

My lovely Ramona excursion also brought home cherries, nectarines, strawberries, melon, raspberry kefir, feta, Irish white cheddar, avocadoes, radishes, small cucumbers, carrots, cabbage, lettuce, green beans, fish, steak, cranberry essence, and a dark blue fitted sheet from the goodwill.

15 July

Talking to Louie this morning early about the shame I feel when Tom is sleazy. I say, If I'm with someone who is sleazy does that mean I'm sleazy? I would never show Tom at [the college] or at a screening, and I feel inordinate relief when he has taken care of himself and looks good. She said it does not show that I'm sleazy, I'm not sleazy, it shows that I'm injured. So then I get it. There's my visible injury and then there is this other visible injury, and the second matters because of the first.

I've been happy in the house, for instance loving the air at the open front door and the clean mat at the kitchen door. Clean floor in the mudroom.

At the same time have had fantasies that if a mountain lion attacked me I would let it have me. - Had one just now, in the midst of this beautiful day, this air and light I love.

I don't think I've had this steady underlying wish for death before. It's not the suicide voice of acute pain, it's just quietly there.

A hawk's shadow runs quietly over the grass.

Am I letting my early self down, should I be fighting more, for the sake of her story. Something like that is what I feel about what I've said above.

As I was speaking to Louie this morning, from the couch gazing down across the field, a wide flock of birds, two hundred birds, was skimming through the cows grazing on the slope, back and forth many times, always low to the ground, swooping along the curve of the hill.

16 July

Singing at the computer - Mozart - thinking of Mary at the sink or the stove with her back to the room singing as she worked. Cotton housedress, apron, sturdy bare calves.

It's as if the house before it was moved is the only true home and everything after that not worth remembering.

There I think of a moment that was worth remembering. When the house had been moved to the west place it was rotated so our bedroom window faced east rather than west. I remember waking in sun one morning at the end of the school year and lying in bed in a blaze of joy that I would soon be leaving for the summer and then university.

I feel a pressure in the center of my chest when I think of that house with my parents young. Why is it. The naturalness of surrounded belonging. There were things to fear and be dissatisfied about but the framework itself hadn't yet been disrupted. The house and yard and surrounding land and the family were all one thing, which I was. Within that one thing I didn't know I was, I had struggles and pleasures I thought of as myself. The Still at home journal isn't worth much because it identifies itself only with those struggles and pleasures and ignores the whole.

When the house was moved we no longer coincided with ourselves. After that it was one disintegration after another. Ed and Mary moved again, and then again, and then again. Opa and Oma moved, and then again, and then again. The floor blurred, is that the way to say it.

18 July

At my age, the more alive you are, the more you're aware of death. Samuel Menashe said

22 July

I've been working these days, all day. It gets very hot in the afternoon. I'm at the desk in loose cotton singlet and loose cotton pyjama pants, keep glasses of water in the fridge so the whole glass will be cold. Don't want to eat very much. Have the whole door open to the day.

What it was like before, when I couldn't work: intention just faded away at the thought. What it's like now: intention doesn't come into it, I just do it.

3rd August Plainfield

Katie's presentation - that was my doing - she stood in front of a packed room in cut-offs and a plaid shirt over black lace. Slender little thing with a long neck and serious pointed face. She was a vivid demonstration of her thesis, the way she moved about in front of us - leaned forward on the podium sometimes to confide joyfully, or would stop unselfconsciously to ponder her outline - so free and focused. "You stayed in touch with yourself the whole time, you stayed in touch with your audience," Lise said. The way she handled questions. The way she was clear and direct the whole way through. "The democratic voice is the voice of the whole body."

- I gave her the framework that let her make that of herself. I defended her ardent joyful generous spirit, I gave her a defense against what wants to erase her. I coached her. I coached her in detail: be careful how you say it. I started her with Gilligan and she blazed into recognition. It was easy for her to understand that wanting to learn something and wanting to become something are the same thing. Her semester with Campbell crushed her - Campbell couldn't stand her girlness. She came out of that semester lost, sobbing. She was honorable in distress. She persisted in confusion, she trusted me with her questions. She knew I was on her side. Her thesis was called The release and integration of feminine-associated ways of knowing, feeling and being in a patriarchal, androcratic society.

8 August

A woman I can want to be like, she says and I meet it square. Yes I know about that I say, there was just one woman who knew anything. She has died.

10 August

If you ever need help, she said. I'm young and strong. I want to carry your suitcase. That was the little seed of realness of this res, one person who could see that the four performances of work I gave are strong and exceptional gifts. I could teach the evolution of the cortex in a way I was never taught it, that gives them the essence. I demonstrated the strong exceptional thing a human can be and told them how to make themselves that too. I set up for them a conversation that let them show themselves and see each other well. I was great-hearted in my wishes for them and said so directly when it seemed to matter. I said I'd done the last exercise too, looking at myself from the all-seeing point of love. That being had seen all the little things I don't like about how I look but had also seen my great-heartedness.

Mesa Grande 15 August

Bit after 7, first morning back. Sun over the broken oak, lot of smoke and it's thickening. Four lightening fires, the largest south of the road I take to Borrego Springs.

In you I sense the vastness of female possibility and onto my knee I go, with due chivalry and awe.

I see a fierce and subtle beauty, married by the mounting integrations of time, who conducts herself with such nuanced discretion that only a few notice her passing.

16 August

Thick blue-ish smoke quite aromatic because it's sage, pines and chaparral is filtering and tinting the light. The sun is lower, reaches almost across the bookshelf now, pinkish pale ivory.

18 August

I bought a bed, iron bedstead someone dug up behind a cabin at the Eagle Peak Mine. Heavy to drag out of the back of the jeep and awkward to set up by myself. It was for Emilee but now I like it outside. I have set it under the driveway oak and was lying on it in the dark looking at single stars that were like the single notes of Simple lines of enquiry I could hear through the screen door. I haven't had an outside bed since the lake house. Bats blur past. The crickets grind away at layered distances.

19 August

Woodpeckers playing in the clear sky above the road, four of them, no maybe five, or six, swooping up, diving, fluttering, urking. The white patches on their wings look transparent against the sky. They're excited. They seem to rise to some point and then pivot and fall.

Weds 22nd August

Coleridge saying that in perceiving one can't tell the effect of the object from the effect of one's own senses because "we become conscious both of the one and of the other in one and the same way, namely, as modifications of our own Being."

A squirrel chipping out in the late afternoon. Why now. Why persistently. Is it devotional.

Overhead always the patrol.

26 August

Made a bedroom of the cabin room. Thinking of Emilee. Pinned up the Avalokitsevara. Gold box, gold pillow cases, new cream-colored sheets. Washed the floor and then the windows, buckets of water flung from outside. Late afternoon blast of sun through the big west window.

28 August

Yesterday I wanted to post a little piece about dove weed and went out in late golden light and took some photos. Have posted a close-up showing sharp bristles and an out of focus yellow depth underneath. That was after I'd been reading on the couch. Ate a peach, suddenly saw the peach skins on the pewter saucer lit sideways from the window. Went for the camera, I'll try. Then the photos more beautiful than what I'd seen, more colored reflection on the table behind the plate. Posted it and doted on it the rest of the evening. Also put up The air with collected bits about scent, sound, temperature, light, and death.

The sunflower photo with yellow lines - it satisfies me as a way of showing and liking that lower stretch of Mesa Grande Rd as it is now.

It has been hot today. Clouds building themselves these days always toward the southeast, is it where hot air rises over the steep rim of the desert? At this moment a mile-high pile touched pink at its upper rim and to the left of it the white moon a day or two from full. Some of the mass has softened but there's a whiter column still boiling up hard and tight. There's mild lightning in the pile. Such a lot happening and this is like a theatre seat at a wide-screen movie.

This morning a young coyote lingering unfrightened on the rock wall next to the house.


I'm in love with my photos for a couple of days after I post them. 1. This one now, the sunflowers. The complex overcast above them, the way the yellow burns in a tawny light. The wedges either side, the fencelines on the left, road stripes and phone line on the right. All that rumpled flourishing in the center between two simplicities.

2. Then roadside cut bank. It's perfectly balanced and focused. A lot of color, a lot of subtle form in the stone, a couple of white lines, parallel. It has a classic stasis, even a kind of drama, the one green twig at the foot of a darker streak. A dry root emerging out of a hole, feeling its way downward across the wall's rough face. The small heaps of sand that have trickled down. The image has a visual foot in those small heaps and a slice of gritty road.

3. Then oh peach skins like an offering of light rather than food.

4. Ant seeds grain perfectly sorted, grit and dark red buckwheat seeds spread outward from a round ant-door. It's an elegant abstraction. The inner grey form too is a ghostly or fetal little creature with a round black eye.

5. Dove weed isn't anything special as a photo but it does show the plant at its best, because of the strong side-lighting. The gold background does it honor.

6. Black Canyon Road shows land where they'd expect sky, and that land is a different kind than in the foreground. The line of a distant road relates itself to the line of the foreground slope. There's a hit of rich mixed color one sees first, and then the fineness of detail of the slopes in the distance.

1st September

Democratic Convention's second day.

Michelle's speech yesterday. She was shown mostly from the ribs up behind a podium, sometimes full length from behind. She was wearing a wonderful dress, a sort of shimmering orange, cut deep into the shoulders to show her perfect smooth-skinned strong shining arms. From behind the dress showed a full skirt. It was a party dress. The goldy-orange shimmer reminded me of my graduation dress, that I'd designed myself and sewn myself and didn't know was more beautiful than the other girls' store-bought pastels.

Anyway, Michelle, another scholarship girl. Her speech has been very praised today but I saw that she was smiling too much, she was cornered in a task she couldn't execute as she would have preferred, with the naturalness she had beside Barack on Oprah for instance. But she stands as a star of the embodiment party. She's tall. She's not thin. Someone on Youtube was sneering that she crosses her legs at the knee not at the ankle like a well-bred Republican woman. Her flaring integrity is body-integrity, as is Barack's. She nearly always shows skin. She hugs. She didn't hesitate to put her arm around the Queen. She advocates for the body arts of gardening, exercise and clean food, which is to say she advocates for human beauty. She wears a lot of color, she understands that as the mother of a nation she has to signal motherly devotion, and she does that with conviction, but at the same time she can stand on any platform and speak without notes for an hour: she's a lawyer. She hasn't had to abandon her family, she has taken them with her. She has the huge fortune of respecting her husband and enjoying him. He is a sexy playful powerful man with a clean conscience, that rarest thing. She's not sure she isn't better than him, which means she lives in a slightly false position, but there's no question that given the time she's in she can do more with him than without him.

Is Barack's kiddish lightness of spirit going to defeat all the good he wants to do, when he's up against a ponderous bull of a father? Romney I mean.

Bill Clinton speaking. His voice immediately holds. His outline is perfectly coherent and relevant. From it he speaks with easy manly authority. Natural manliness. He's giving facts and figures. He's addressing everything that needs addressing. He signals his points personally. "Are you listening?" His pacing is perfect, he's lucid. He's thin, he's pale, he's wearing out, his heart is going to go one day soon.

"Here's what really happened."

"You all need to listen to this carefully, it's important."

They cheer, he reins them back. "You're having a good time. This is serious, I want you to listen."

"Folks this is serious, because it gets worse."


"Now wait a moment." "Here's what really happened."

For O it's as if a father steps in with powerful defense, as if god is backing him with omniscient benevolence.

6 September

It's very, very good theatre in a land of hungry sons.

I'm in a tizzy this morning wanting to talk about the election and having no one to talk to.

9 September

A middle-sized animal sitting motionless in the patch of unmown grass where I scatter peelings. Can't see it well. Fetch the binocs. Yes it's a bobcat. Handsome. It gets up and strolls away downhill as if it has felt me staring.

Last night a bit before bedtime I went out and got into the sleeping bag, which is flannel-lined and very cozy. Lay on my back in the quiet din of crickets, under black branches and many sharp white points of light. There'd be a momentary blast of breeze, whose preemptory touch I love. I faded sweetly, woke later, when the waning chunk of moon came glaring cheese orange over the trees to the northeast. Got up and came inside barefoot on the patio stone feeling it had been perfect sleep. Northing hurt. It was 2:43.

This morning have been doing small edits on the later Here texts. I like the writing but it doesn't seem like mine. A slight sensation of oh is that what I'm like now.

Have a sore heart about Tom having no phone minutes and no money and now no time to visit me. Restless, hungry, keep checking email.

The unnervous coyote who ambled past on the road yesterday when I was working on the outside bed had the slightly comic dished long snout of Wily Coyote.

Under the restlessness there's anguish of abandonment.

11 September

Since the rain yesterday there's a scent in the air I keep wanting more of - it's like an edge - it's a spice - I feel it as a sharpness - wet leaves maybe? Rotting wood.

On the way back from SY I stopped four times to take photos of datura flowers, which are unusually thick along the lower stretch of Mesa Grande Rd just now. The last stop had a fresher fuller plant and I sat down on some prickly weed to get closer with the macro lens. Now I'm doing what I do, gazing at the photo I posted full of satisfaction. I have the flower's quilted circle but also a bud furled like a cigar with pixie curls, a couple of other stages of buds, the one next to the flower a perfect tumescent little penis, and very fine-cut leaves arrayed, all telling the story of how it comes to be. Corners correctly anchored. Focus as it happens just right to set the plant's shapes into deep 3-d. I gaze in marvel because the photo is better than what I saw. The eye goes back and forth between the strange, green-brown, elfish, tight-wound bud-cigar and what it becomes, the soft spread target of the flower, and then around it, too, five other fat pointing little boys. Filtered overcast makes all of it seem quietly and oh so clearly alive. Look at it!

12 September

Last night I lay down outside under a thinly misted sky through which I could just about see brighter stars. The whole of it would sometimes flicker with weak sheet lightening, pink. Fell asleep. When I woke the sky was brilliantly black and clear. There were strong cool blasts of air. I loved lying there beneath it all, loved it in some simple thought-less way, didn't want to stir.

13 September

Perhaps this book will be understood only by someone who has himself already had the thoughts expressed in it, or at least similar thoughts. - So it is not a textbook. - Its purpose would be achieved if it gave pleasure to one person who read and understood it.

Greg sent it. Tractatus.

15 September

I lie down in the outside bed padded in flannel and look up at those intense white points through the massive black branches of the oak - three of them, one reaching forward above me. Last night there were quite strong blasts of wind. The openness seems lively to me. Is there any other way to say it. I love lying in the lively openness of moving air, at the bottom of a black sea. I fade out but don't sleep well. Don't want to go in. Wake at 2:30, wide awake. Am still awake at 4:30. Making tea, thinking about a workshop on plants and the senses.

18 September

I've been grabbed by the story of Romney being outed by a video captured in secret, sneering that the 47% who don't pay federal taxes all vote for Obama because they think of themselves as victims and want to be dependent, and the Democrats cynically create dependency because that is their voting base. He says he can't make them care about their lives. There's nothing ambiguous: that's what he says. Why am I so grabbed. Tom said it's seeing someone unmasked, and I suppose seeing others seeing him unmasked. This election is so clearly a choice between fundamentally different ways of being a person that I'm in high tension about it. Is the world going to go backward? Will intelligence win, or will dissociation. Will people prefer to be represented by someone like them, or by someone better than them. Will their desire not to feel their insufficiency be stronger than their desire to feel their possibility.


The quiet sound of running water is bringing birds.

19 September

There are names for every part of the bird. Having seen them labeled helps me see the whole subtle fit of their costume and for instance that this California towhee is not the one that was splashing yesterday because its throat stripes are darker.

House of spiders, terrace of birds. Quiet ticking of water.

The complex grey sound of sudden flight. Grey because it's feathers beating air.

They have the cover of the toyon above their little spring. Slim little mountain chickadee jumping down from a branch.

It's clearly the woodpeckers' desmesne, so well laid out for their pleasure. This oak, the oaks across the road, the locusts. They are back and forth, with a stop balancing on the wire to survey in the clear.

I'm sweet on the oak titmouse because of her little crest and the subtle evenness of her grey.

The woodpeckers are so fast and flashy with their white and black opening and closing. What does their red cap remind me of - the cap-shaped velvet of a ripe thimbleberry. They are great fussers. Their squawk is a grating sound.

Tiny lizard running up the handle of the shovel.

When the wind comes up the clustered seed pod husks on the locusts clack together dryly.

Something about the movement of air, just that. It somehow thrills me, at night when I'm lying here, and now in dry daylight too.

There's the hawk yelling.

The water has brought what has turned out to be a California sister.

Rabbit, on the rock rim, same color as the stones, taking a long drink.

I so dislike the squirrels though their tails are pretty. I don't like the way they move. They are craven little hustlers.

20 September

Two of what may have been Mexican jays? Long blue birds, almost pure blue, lit at the driveway tap but didn't drink.

I look around on this sort of afternoon and say there'll be a day when I'm not here anymore and am remembering it.

26 September

Last night after reading in Raw forming the letters to Mary protesting her protests about sex, and then the terrible summer visit, I was in distress again, dim distress feeling how I'd carried on in dim pain over the great loss of my mother's blessing. I'd lived from the age of 2 without touch and now she was wanting to keep it away from me still unless I somehow consented to the catastrophe she had consented to. From that young woman's point of view it's hideous of my mother, blind, blank and in a way hateful. I was claiming my sexual well-being, which was a larger well-being because it ended other kinds of desperation - eating binges, random lonely efforts with men, diffidence, clumsiness, kinds of manic falsity - and she in whatever unconscious rivalry it was - was it that? wanted to deny me it. Refused to go on admiring me, showed that she didn't care about me really. And my dad, was he so nuts that visit because I had a sexual shine? Was that why he shot the puppy? My patched bluejeans signified my nonvirginity? All of it subliminal? His worry about the neighbours what they might guess about him? Did she have a sense of that? So my family shut me out for being sexual and I didn't exactly understand what had happened. I had crossed the line and I kept going, but I had lost something, had I, that I didn't know was gone.

27 September

When I woke this morning I wanted to say something about the heat in Borrego. I stood against the wall of Kendall's after breakfast waiting for Em feeling the thickness of the air, a weight of light, an actual pressure. September eleven o'clock.

Meantime birds at the little rock bowl all day long, and sometimes at the feeder I've stabilized with a stone. Towhees always, standing on the overspill rock on their little twig legs, dipping their heads, tilting up the rusty spot under their tails.

28 September

Tom was here for 17 hours and I liked him -
He looked interesting with his fine silver hair growing out.
He marveled satisfyingly.
He talked a lot but he was interesting. I like his unusual words.
His energy charmed me. I lay back into it.
He swept the patio assiduously.
He is happy in his growing kingdom.
He agreed when I said his other women couldn't handle him.
He's been called to attention when I said I'd prefer not to but I might need to find another boyfriend.


Notes from Peter Dyck and Jam, Jam pathologically cryptic in her way, which feels as though her willed stylishness is more important to her than meeting me in language that knows me. That seems miserly of her, but she did say two generous things.

What it is to have known people when they were vital. We've banked our young selves in their memory. Who we chose unwittingly to do that. It's as if there's a stretch of time in which people are their best, or real, and only in that stretch of time are they worth knowing.

29 September

It was the universe of power. It was the network, field, and lines of the energies of all beings, stars and galaxies of stars, worlds, animals, minds, nerves, dust. The lace and foam of vibration that is being itself, all interconnected, every part part of another part and the whole part of each part, and so comprehensible to itself only as a whole, boundless and unclosed.

Foam, and the scintillation of mica in rock, the flicker and sparkle of waves and dust, the working of the great broadcloth looms, and all dancing, have reflected the hawk's vision for a moment to my mind; and indeed everything would do so, if my mind were clear and strong enough.

The dead and the unborn ... the images of dream and vision, all wild creatures, the waves of the sea, the sun, and all the other stars, were to be part of that dancing. So the earthly, mortal, human dancers invited that part of their own being which was before, and would be after their earthly life; their soul, or their souls. Not the spirit, the essence of individuality, or not only the spirit, for individuality is mortality; but also the breath soul, that which is shared with, takes form, gives back to the wholeness of being; and the self that is beyond the self.

seeing the world as they see it, with the sun's eyes, that see only light

I'm a member of the Serpentine it seems - the house of wild plants and of the book art, N-S-E-W and green, stones. I'm Again of the Serpentine.

This morning Long Snout the coyote loped across the lower yard east to west toward the pines, hesitating at the compost ground. Then came another, larger, in the long grass beyond the fence moving by a parallel track. When both were gone another, younger, running where the first had been.

They had no god; they had no gods; they had no faith. What they appear to have had is a working metaphor.

30 September

It's near full moon. I went to bed too early and woke at 2. Went out to sit in the chair. Pulled it forward out of the oak's shadow. Great pale sky with a few bright points. Orion lying on its left side in the east. Crickets banked along the western windbreak edge. The stand of three younger pines a harp sounding continuously. Behind me the warm wide house gently alit.

Is it bad of me to say I haven't been worth knowing since my early 50s. Do I mean it hasn't been worth being me since then. This time of life is and will be so much about registering failure.

And yet there is the lamp and here is this floating music. The metal lamp base lit downward under its brown-paper shade, Space hotel's soft drum beats in which I can hear a palm. Its ripples and long-standing dissolving drones.

It's been worth knowing what I know, would be for anyone, there's that. I've made that of myself but I don't have much presence. My young self would be disappointed. There I look up and see the lines made by my little notebooks' elastic and its shadow. It goes like this: [sketch]. It means that when I was young my conscious self departed from its unconscious companion and then the unconscious self crossed into consciousness and now lies parallel and a bit forward. I like the way the two lines begin together and then disappear together into a little hole in the cover.


I'm working on the outside bed - something caught my eye - a long, thin, ragged, eccentric-looking individual in grey clothes - hello! - it's half a moment before I remember his name - there's a long tail he keeps lifting and setting down alertly, as if it's a sensing apparatus, and a ragged crest fallen to one side. Road runner.

Tom and I were here on the bed in fading light when a rabbit came hesitating down the steps. Crossed to the fountain. Jumped onto the rim. Bent stone-colored in the notch between stones and drank. We watched in silence. We felt moved to be giving hospitality.

The air is active today. Hot wind from the east knocking acorn caps and failed acorns onto my legs.

Obsequious little nuthatch so clean-looking in its blue-ish white and black.


You write that one evening you were sitting in my chair reading Descartes, and I asked you if you would like to stay for the night, and you decided you would. This would have been my absolute peak fantasy in the preceding years: to find a smart girl who read philosophy and who wanted to spend the night.

2 October

A commotion of turkeys on the terrace, some drinking, some digging energetically in deep leaves. I could creep up to the window and stare at their extraordinary tarnished bronze attire - layered, shingled, folded, banded, spotted, iridescent, more elegantly detailed and fitted than any human-made thing can be.

[Hade written my grade 9 teacher a letter]

You took kind interest in an unpopular 14 year old who didn't fit in.
You were frank and funny.
You were a Mennonite who wasn't mean or dumb.
You could blaze up - I liked that. There was some wicked spark.
You were interested in language and liked to play with it.
You walked me home from my grade 12 grad when I was setting out unpraised on my own.
We were friends, I felt, and I needed friends.
- You see how when you're good to someone young it sticks forever.

We both took it back to high school though we knew each other later, because that was when it mattered.

His reply said he had a tear, and I'd had one as I scribbled the last two lines.

It had come to me to tell him how I remember him and there it all was as if woven into my floor - not a good way to say it - I mean part of my core, which is the self I was then, sweet and eager.

I was naïve and not well educated when I came to La Glace. I wasn't even much older than some of my students, hence terrified of showing my lack of knowledge.

When I was 14 I didn't know that he was young, that he was one young creature looking at another, and that I was company to him too, in his own lonely oddity.

There's no way I can show him as I saw him, an electric redhead, a body, though we never really saw the bodies of men in suits and ties - he wore a cream-colored sports jacket that smelled of cigarettes and some kind of baggy grey slacks - but he moved with energy, he was real in the classroom, he felt and cared, and he liked me. He was sarcastic, touchy sometimes, funny - I can see, can almost see, his amusement, the way it widened his upper lip so his tongue showed a bit voluptuously.

3 October

How did a spider get into my belly button?

The ants of later summer are much smaller - tiny - and there are fewer of them though they swarm the flowerpots from their little caravans.

The goal of spirit knowing itself as spirit, has for its way the recollection of spirits.

wild, bold, unprecedented book

The realm of shadows, the world of the simple essences

The sojourn and the work in this realm of shadows is the education and discipline of consciousness. Here it pursues tasks remote from sensuous intuitions and aims the exclusions of the accidental nature of argumentative thinking and the arbitrary business of allowing these or rather the opposite reasons to occur to one and prevail.

- But what he makes of this - I'd take it as psychological but he as metaphysical, it seems.

central purpose is to demonstrate the inadequacy, the one-sidedness, the abstractness of our categories.

I finally remark that this science, like grammar, appears in two different perspectives or values. It is one thing for those who first approach it and the sciences, and quite another for those who return to it from them. Whoever, on the other hand, masters a language, and at the same time knows other languages with which to compare it, will find that the spirit and culture of a people reveal themselves to him in the grammar of its language. Through the grammar he can recognize the expression of the spirit, the logic. It is only out of the deeper knowledge of the other sciences that logic rises for the subjective spirit as something that is not merely general in an abstract way but as the general which includes the riches of the particular ...

quiet but profound minds who absorbed the new philosophy with lasting seriousness and then proceeded from it gradually to cultivate particular fields of scholarship.

4 October

Reading Kaufmann on Hegel absorbed.

Some vague idea of a Hegel movie.


All day long a quiet tapping - sometimes very quiet - as if of elfish repairs. Many tones.

5 October

5:30 in the dark - not a crack of dawn yet - Yo Yo Ma playing Bach.

Odd photo from this morning. Early light was white on the oak trunk. I went in for the camera. So here is the oak trunk with white light on grey heavily cracked bark, black shadow behind, a curved edge, but the black also is a screen showing through to bright blue. The odd thing is my little shadow standing in the corner as if on a separate layer, with a branchy oval shadow floating above my head - happening to be there - I didn't see it, but it's like a branching cloud of thought or blessing - it belongs with the triangularity of the robe - was wearing the black dress because it was cold.

So the little foreground figure stands outside the frame taking the picture, and has spread above her an ambiguous form that seems part of her outside space and also a shadow thrown by the oak. - And then high above both figure and halo, just at the top of the frame there are fresh oak leaves in close foreground, part of the tree though we don't see the branch that bears them. There is even a green acorn. On the ground next to the little figure a dead stick that is in a completely different scale. The cloud-thought-halo-shadow too is in exact position to diagram the roots of the pine tree above it. altogether it seems to signify more than I know, mysteriously.

Standards for photos - coherent complexity.

7 October

Bushtits are like charming little round children dashing about together, piling onto the basin rim together, swerving away suddenly. The little grey whirr when they jump away into the air. I'm thinking of turn but a stone and start a wing.

- I'm wanting a movie camera to fix on the basin for a long while. Starring towhee, bushtit, junco, titmouse, nuthatch, chickadee.

Conception of a film as creation of subtle kinds of good company, a sort of fictional enterprise. What would the goodness of company need. Awareness of the attentions engaged. A mutual interest well presented. A mythic catch to engage the uncon. - What are birds coming to drink at a human-made but natural pool? Water of life. Do I dare spend $4000? Hegel on the track, some dark passage.

Something jumping around in the toyon continuously declaring in a grating dry voice - slim little brown bird with a long tail. Very nervous, wouldn't let me look.

Somehow behind anything I do in film now a presumption of the immaterial ground.

It jumps around in the branches. I can see it opening its beak among the leaves.

For Hegel.

10 October

Angelo was pouring his driveway this morning, three big yellow concrete trucks. Late this afternoon when I'd been sweeping the patio and bringing in the bedding on account of rain he came up the road with a bottle of cab asking if I have a corkscrew. He'd been hit by grief after the pour, wanted a glass of wine. I said, Come in, sit here because it's my only chair.

11 October

The wine was velvety.

When he was going home I got the flashlight and walked him to the bottom of his new road. It was very dark - overcast. I shone the flashlight up alongside the concrete he can't walk on yet, so he could pick his way uphill to his little house through rocks and piles of dirt. As I stood there moving the beam to stay ahead of him streamers of cloud flowed up from behind me and muddled the light so I could no longer see him.

15 October

Warm Monday morning. Hammering at Angelo's. Flock of small birds on the wires. I'm writing in the chair. There goes David to the casino. Workers at the cabin, voices. The farthest rim of mountains pale blue. Broad quiet peace. A lizard on the stump. It's just standing there looking, jacked up on its front legs.

There three pines sounded for a moment and are silent again, and there the oak above me. Light wind from the east. The oaks are looking fresh and full.

16 October

I was awake in the dark and took my tea to the chair - winter coat - and saw the light come up. Morning star high. Pink flush in the empyrean. There is no word for the boundless absorbent depth of cloudless sky. Rabbits were grazing, cows were moving west along the fenceline, big dumb masses heaving themselves down into the gully and standing to stare at me though there was nothing to see.

I was lying in bed this morning feeling the dearness to me of things I remember - Catherine's sweet old-fashioned English little smile, Ida in her Welsh byre, things that are gone forever, except - there went a little fox on the road, grey above, red below - that I have a bit of them in me.

21 October

The windbreak trees are incense cedars, calocedrus decurrens. The wide-spreading blue-ish tree at the top of the driveway is Arizona cypress, cupressus arizonica.

Wet, misty day. Delicious air. Looking at wet reddish leaf litter underfoot I thought of Saturna.

22 October

Four this morning again. Tea. Feet up on the desk. Argerich and Maisty Sonata #1, pellet stove blowing hard. I have this quite lovely thing on the big monitor in front of me. Locust pods.

Then there's the slit photo, Oak slit, slit crossed by rusty barbed wire. The flash went off though I didn't intend it to and the result is this exquisite sharp focus and greeny sheen on a young vulva surrounded by rough bark. Perfectly composed and eloquent and no more to be said about it.

There's the one of the house from the field, fog down to the level of the beginning of the forest. It's a quiet picture. Pines below Angel Mountain. It's a quiet picture that makes me want to live here till I die.

Wet cypress has an odd mystic glow, which must be the silveriness caught in mist. The way shallow depth of field makes the branches jut forward out of darkness is marvelous. It's an ugly picture somehow but perfect as a photo. Ugly how. I don't like the silver and yellow together, which makes me unappreciate the plant although I can see it is a mode of fairy princess, maybe one of an inimical race.

Wet fence is okay. What did I like about Cut curve. It's simple but has touches - the bit of bright cloud that holds onto the upper end of the road's curve. The way one arc, the road, cuts into another, the hill. The gradient of light in the sky, the brightest corner holding against the bright bit of cloud in the lowest.

- Photographic values so much about subtlety, a bland photo very little different from a good one.

My favorite this time is Pines below Angel Mountain where Angel Mountain is invisible, and which shows a line of beings both on and below a hill. Something like that.

27 October

Yesterday morning lying with Tom watching firelight to our left sides and orange dawn brightening on our right. The night before, a big warm body shouting in my ear. Mr Fengler mod-ulate your voice, the nuns would say.

When we came down into the valley in the morning the wind was so strong it was buffeting the jeep. Where we were parked at Dudley's waiting for the bus we could see the row of eucalyptus all excited as SDG&E trucks flowed eastward alongside them.

The evening before we'd sat together on the couch watching the pink darken in the west, with just one pink candle burning on the mantle.

We'd had a fight first thing. I stopped to get gas and when I was just about to shove in my credit card there was Tom pushing me out of the way. This is man country, I pump the gas, he said. I didn't want to blaze up at him then and there so I got out of the way but I felt sidelined, which is a blanked, erased feeling. He had seized the wrong nozzle and was discovering it was diesel because he couldn't get it in. Then he was angry. We drove away. I was declaring things in my head. I knew why he'd done it. There had been a couple of other men on the gas station forecourt and he hadn't wanted to look wimpy. But it was my jeep and my credit card, and I have earned the right to look like I'm the one who pumps the gas, etc, and beyond that was a worry about his flaming up, does it mean he's back on meth.

We went on like that until somewhere near the mission and then he said was I ready for a kiss. I said no, because I had some things to say. Said them, and then we laughed, and then when we stopped at the gate I gave him a kiss. My solar plex felt as if it were smiling.

At night when we were lying together on my bed before I sent him to his bed on the floor I was spooning him and doing what I sometimes do, tuning out what he's saying and just feeling the vibrations of his voice in his back and my belly. When we were going to separate he turned in my arms, four dry little kisses that turned me on.

These past days I sometimes see words in my dad's handwriting. Gate and gas above.

28 October

One year today.

Yellow on the locusts and the sycamores.

Sunday late afternoon quiet. Bit of faint knocking. A fly.

Sky bright blue behind me.

It's warm, mild, but the light seems thinner on the pale grass and on the bright green cedars.

My ears aren't buzzing. There's immaculate quiet in which I can hear the faintest breath of leaves.

Looking at last fall's photos seeing that last year's beauties aren't repeated.

Sweetest peace though haunted by worries about Luke.

What does sweet peace feel like. As if the chest is open to the air. As if I could go on just sitting.

Two bright pink things way across the yard. Are they plastic? I go see. They're naked ladies! 5 or 6 flowers on a bare stem, two stems near each other. Scented.

13 turkeys hurrying toward Norm's pond, it seems. Don't have beards. 20 more, also hurrying, also beardless, both groups this year's hatch I think.

The very large old oak near the ravine on the east - one that lost a huge heavy branch - is covered with green acorns. The other old one next to it is not.

Now the row of cedars in the east is throwing its broad shadow across me and past, almost to the far side of the yard.