"The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only
a green thing that stands in the way. Some see nature all ridicule and
deformity ... and some scarce see nature at all. But to the eyes of the
man of imagination, nature is imagination itself." William Blake
(Essay begun December 29, 2004)
There is an old cottonwood tree
down by the creek on my Aunt and Uncle’s property near Yreka that intrigues
me. That tree is pretty old, it has seen a lot of history of the family
on the property where the folks on my mother’s side of the family homesteaded
and ran a ranch for many years.
I have been hanging around that
tree since I was a kid, there is a little ripple in the creek that we used to
dam-up as kids and make the creek backup as far as we could.
I would go there as I made
exploration of the hill beyond as when I was younger jumping the creek,
especially in the spring was a dangerous endeavor… though now I can easy hop
across it, there near the tree.
Up the hill is the old Ditch,
constructed during the gold rush, I once found a piece of pottery that looked
like a piece of blue willow that must have washed down it from above a hundred
or so years before.
I used to like to hike up the
hill below the ditch and sit up in pines and look down on the world below.
Sometimes, I could sit, and if things were quiet enough, I could hear
people call to each other, or a dog bark. My Grandmother would ring the
old school bell, to call the kids in for lunch or dinner.
Before setting out, folks would
make sure I knew that there were snakes. I never saw one, but to be sure
I used to make a lot of noise so they wouldn't be too surprised.
There were always a small herd
of cows or mules roaming around and of course the deer. There was always
a love-hate relationship with deer in our part of the world. Personally,
they are next of kin with rats, who eat anything of use or beauty in your
yard. Up on the hill, you could run into one, which was ok.
But running into one late at night when your grandmother sends you out to turn
off the sprinkler... is well nothing short of a heart stopper.
Across the creek, below the
tree line are the remnants of a spring, I think a great uncle tried to dig it
out with a backhoe before I was born. In the spring there are carpets of
little purple violets there…
Click here to to July 2012
Copyright 2011 by Daniel C. Orey
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