Small winged creatures continue to flit about in the house, and are particularly attracted to Sluggo's monitor. I'm glad somebody's having a good time with Sluggo. I prefer being outdoors, watching the summer stars and smelling the skunk scent that drifts from the nearby woods. The cat prefers being outdoors, too, though I don't know what she thinks of the skunk scent.
The sky has a velvet look tonight, and the stars are soft against the deep shade of blue. It is very different from the black void of a winter night, when the stars are like sharp shards of ice. Were it not for the scorching days, I would have no complaints about summer. The nights are a world of their own, but they are gone before I weary of them.
Once again, by darkness the town all but concealed, the early Sunday silence prevailing, the near horizon of dark, towering shapes seems ageless. Though on this ridge, the woodlands have been thinned, and houses hug the canyon verges, the forests of these mountains are more dense than they have been in more than a century. I sense them, climbing ridge after ridge down the length of the range, a deeper gathering of darkness in the vast night. They seem especially present in summer, when the smell of pine never leaves the air. That must be why they have been in my mind much of late. Trees, I have concluded, have more power than we once realized. My suspicion grows that they will prevail, in the end, despite what might have seemed certain only recently. Consider the words of Yvor Winters only a few decades ago in todays...
The California Oaks
by Yvor Winters
Spreading and low, unwatered, concentrate Of years of growth that thickens, not expands, With leaves like mica and with roots that grate Upon the deep foundations of these lands, In your brown shadow, on your heavy loam -Leaves shrinking to the whisper of decay- What feet have come to roam what eyes to stay? Your motion has o'ertaken what calm hands? Quick as the sunbeam, when a bird divides The lesser branches, on impassive ground, Hwui-Shan, the ancient, for a moment glides, Demure with wisdom, and without a sound; Brown feet that come to meet him, quick and shy, Move in the flesh, then, browner, dry to bone; The brook-like shadows lie where sun had shown; Ceaseless, the dead leaves gather, mound on mound. And where they gather, darkening the glade, In hose and doublet, and with knotty beard, Armed with the musket and the pirate's blade, Stern as the silence by the savage feared, Drake and his seamen pause to view the hills, Measure the future with a steady gaze, But when they go naught fills the patient days; The bay lies empty where the vessels cleared. The Spaniard, learning caution from the trees, Building his dwelling from the native clay, Took native concubines: the blood of these Calming his blood, he made a longer stay. Longer, but yet recessive, for the change CAme on his sons and their sons to the end; For peace may yet derange and earth may bend The ambitious mind to an archaic way. Then the invasion! and the soil was turned, The hidden waters drained, the valleys dried; And whether fire or purer sunlight burned, No matter! one by one the old oaks died. Died or are dying! The archaic race- Black oak, live oak, and valley oak- ere long Must crumble on the place which they made strong And in the calm they guarded now abide.