The Quail Diaires–Cuarto, Second Postscript

In the place of the burn, more than one year later, some things have grown.  Still, there are places absence of vegetation.  Through these places run the tracks of innumerable mammals and birds and the unseen prints of insects.


It is the season of fire in California.  But I am in Seattle.

Yet, I am in the west.  Time is different in the west than in the east.

The space of the west, linked, as space in general is, to time, is expansiveness.  Even the edge of the land the Pacific Ocean is really a beginning, not an end–space.

But no man moved me till the tide
Went past my simple shoe,

Marianne Wigginson in “The Shadow Catcher” talks about ancient times being more apparent to people in the west geologic force are so visible–for example the layout of the freeways of Los Angeles is constrained by the ranges being pushed by crashing of tectonic plates.  In the west we see and sometimes feel the slow dynamism of the earth in a way those on the east or midwest or south cannot.

It is an interesting point–and I agree to some extent.  But Wigginson does not point out how European historical timelines expand in the west and contract in the east.  We’ve occupied the east for a longer period of time so recent history feels more ancient in the west.  It is the issue of relative time.

I like to see it lap the miles,
And lick the valleys up

In the west, the structures of the Europeans are younger than in the east–but they’ve been turned ghostly because of the spaces and the flash of events.  When an entire town less than two hundred years old is turned over to ghosts, the time of its existence feels more ancient than a building twice as old but still occupied.

It sounded as if the Streets were running
Like, for example Bodie .    
And then -- the Streets stood still --

Though, really, too much care has been taken to preserving Bodie for it to be truly haunted.

do you, by the way, believe in ghosts?

I have been haunted by a little quail, little feather, little wing.

and by the woodrat in her mound



In fall I can feel the time moving.  People say that in southern California the seasons desert us.  But that is not true.  One can feel the seasons and the movement of time, especially in fall, by the shift in light.

Eclipse -- was all we could see at the Window
And Awe -- was all we could feel.

Even in San Diego, that most homogenous of climates–we’ve our Santa Anas and our fire to complement the sun’s shift in the sky.

By and by -- the boldest stole out of his Covert
To see if Time was there --
Nature was in an Opal Apron,
Mixing fresher Air.
The memory and desire of spring are overlaid by something else in fall--that whole decay thing.
This used to be a dirt path.  My quail walked it.  Those quail are long dead.
This is what is left:

quotes from the poet of the fall (and the spring as well) Emily Dickinson

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