THERE was a time when meadow, grove, and stream,
The earth, and every common sight,
To me did seem
Apparelled in celestial light,
The glory and the freshness of a dream.
So far as I know, nobody planted the sycamores that dapple the south California canyons.
It is native to California and Baja California, where it grows in riparian areas, canyons, floodplains, at springs and seeps, and along streams and rivers in several types of habitats. — Wikipedia
Shall we make a found poem of this?
It is native
And Baja California
Where it grows
In riparian areas,
at springs and seeps,
And along streams
In several types
The summer camp I inhabited as a teenager nestled in the groves of Little Sycamore Canyon. One night, returning alone from a walk to the beach, I passed through the picnic area. There must have been a moon because the trees had turned silvery and I became disoriented. In that Wordsworth way I stared and stared and felt my heart. What had been a familiar and ordinary scene had, by some strange electricity of atmosphere, turned peculiar and numinous.
Freud, no spiritual slouch despite what you hear, invented a name for such moments: oceanic, he called them.
THE RITE OF SPRING
The Fern Hill Spring camping trip at Leo Carrillo State Park went off without a hitch last week, by some miracle of Providence. Families arrived and sorted themselves into neighborly groups of campsites, billowy tent fields sprouting like johnny jump-ups in perfect weather. Nick took off on his bicycle with a pack of schoolmates and was not seen again until sundown every night.
Each grade held a potluck dinner on Saturday and joined the others after for the all-school campfire. Mr. Happy, I am happy to report, killed again. As did the dulcet Fern Hill mom who accompanied herself on guitar to “I’ll Fly Away.” As did the pair of dancing Minecraft robots, and the dancing children, and on and on.
The campfire closing?
The campfire show will close with the FIRST ANNUAL GLOW PARADE — around 8:30 on Saturday night. Don’t forget to bring your glow in the dark whatnots!
— Sign on the Fern Hill bulletin board
You may imagine the faces of non-Fern Hill park inhabitants as glowing sylphs slithered by them in the dark.
I had little to do with any of this, except to watch. The Fern Hill camping trip had taken flight and I was out of a job. For three whole days, my job was to do exactly nothing. Glorious.
With no electric things, no cell-thing reception, no I-net things, I forgot my obsessions. I forgot names. I forgot everything except the season.
Mostly, I sat among friends and watched the day go by, telling time by the sun and moon, cradled in the sycamores. Without books, I found my catechism: Eat when you’re hungry, sleep when you’re tired, do dishes when Nora tells you.
Leo Carrillo park is one canyon over from Little Sycamore Canyon, as it happens. The sycamores around me were kin to the ones that turned silver that night so many years ago. I love the community of trees; I love how it shelters the human community within.
The week before we arrived, a few of the parents were nervous about sharing campsites with other families they didn’t know well. We needn’t have worried. The Angel of sycamores was in attendance. She was whispering:
Be generous and caring, it will work out. We’re a community and in the end all we have is one another.
Or, as someone once said,
in the end
is equal to
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