Redención part 4–this state I’m in

time past is not believed to have any bearing upon time present or future, out in the golden land where every day the world is born anew

What does it mean to have been born; to have grown up and lived

I have already lost touch with a couple of people I used to be

in a the golden state; a place of eternal sun

it would be of some interest for me to know again what it feels like

where all things are born anew out of a past that doesn’t exist

I had mislaid it

I am in the southern part of the heart of California, where members of my family has been since the late 1800s.  Of my close relatives I am the only expat although a great uncle lived and died in Paris, France.

What is that noise?

This perhaps has not much directly to do with the quail.

The wind under the door

However, I bring it up for a couple of reasons:

Nothing, again, nothing

1.  To get here, I drove south from Seattle.

There are California quail in Washington state, even a few in Seattle, and Oregon as well.  I heard cow-calling and rally cries when the dog and I were at a rest stop that abutted the Rogue River.

We took the I-5 the whole way–it’s actually relatively scenic until one reaches the Central Valley.  Then everything is brown and flat.  This is where a sizable chunk of my family established itself.  Or rather, not so much established…things didn’t go that well.  More precisely, they lived here and eked out a living on the edge during the depression.

This is a stop on the way in the central valley that is peculiarly tree-filled

Here is an image of Stockton, as we shot by. I visited here many times as a kid. Once, we spilled milk in the van and the trip was accompanied by the unpleasant smell of sour milk.

It is, therefore, this trip south to be with “my” population of quail that is the first reason I bring up the issue of my “Californianess”

You know nothing? Do you see nothing?  Do you remember

2.  I’ve driven here to work with this population rather than focus on birds further north because this is the group of birds, or the descendants thereof, for which I have a substantial amount of background information. To be able to follow up here and gather information about how these birds have changed in terms of population structure and ecology is an opportunity I would like to be able to exploit. Also, I have family support down here which makes the field work significantly easier–it means the kids can be here, and the dog, and they do not have to be out with the quail every time I am out there.

I have mentioned before that I find myself in a precarious place with my research among other things.

The precariousness of a variety of aspects of my life, however, means that, to return to the space where I spent more than 1/2 of the years of my life, brings these aspects into stark relief with that past. With my expectations, with my failures and with what I am now trying to cobble together.

I was supposed to have a script and had mislaid it

There is a strange sheen on everything but I am scratching it off.  The quail do not have the sheen, nor does the lesser roadrunner.  The red-tailed hawks do not either–one screamed and flew, catching an updraft, arcing, dipping and screaming again, as I stood on the edge of the cliff where I’d wandered looking for quail tracks.  There was a dark shape the other night, the dog saw it–I thought it was a coyote but part of me was confused by the absence of a tail and the fact that the animal was smaller than a coyote.

It was, of course, a bobcat.

All we own is stolen

from each other

we reach

in waves


Quotes are by Joan Didion, Lee Ann Brown, Inger Christenson, T. S. Eliot


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