I’ve just returned from a writers’ retreat at Sea Ranch on the northern California coast.
Sea Ranch is one of my heart places, a place where my parents once built a house and where their ashes are scattered. Now I wonder how it will survive. How any of the places I have loved in California, in the West, will survive.
The California drought was suddenly in the news while I was there – but it was not news to anyone who has followed the water wars, watched the landscape shrivel and die for a generation. I wrote about it ten years ago, in “Sudden Oak Death Syndrome,” which ends:
“We leave our children a place with no eyelids.
They will die thirsty,
telling stories of our green shade.”
There is nothing any longer to be done, but to love what is and what has been. Here is a poem from this past week.
Honeyfur of California.
Brindled landskein – grass, oak, ocean, road –
knit, curl inward, unravel into foam.
Home ground. Rooted, I remember
childhood’s green. Beneath my feet,
a quaking, a seepage toward empty.
Ruth, loving this new language, the honeyfur, the landskein. To love what has been, and what is, we need a language to name it. And you do that so beautifully. It is not only conservationists we need to save California, and the rest of the dry lands, but poets. Poets like you.
Thank you, Michelle. Maybe we can’t save anything, but we can still love it.
Ruth, heartbreakingly beautiful. You name our feelings so bravely.
Thank you, Lisa.
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