california dreaming

secret roads lined by eucalyptus take you out to lagunitas. there are wineries and pear orchards and pumpkin patches, hayrides, mount tamalpais, sea lions. north of the golden gate, the climate is almost mediterranean: apple trees grow out of sandy soil, firm and tart fruit, blossoming trees with petals floating on coastal breezes in march and april. champagne is made here, and up north marijuana grows in fields cultivated with care and precision, and all the world is green.

where i was born--hidden, the word means. what is hidden here? spanish treasure, hidden in the green valley between the desert and the sea. or is this place itself hidden, tucked in, like kissing an infant good-night, among avocado groves, peacocks, pomegranites, plums. chicken feathers and dirt roads, a mysterious house that burnt down to its spindly frame, hospital, down the hill, loose and free, out to the mall, the cinema, the sea.

or older, the people that made jewelry from shells and bowls from soapstone, baskets from seagrass and sumac; whose mourning ceremonies lasted a week as the dead traveled into the land of the Great Spirit. who sailed in boats, fished and sang and prayed.

who worked to build the missions? what powers created, what powers destroyed? what is left, where is the land, the spirit, the tears? how many boats have entered these harbors, what shouts and shots have filled the air, what smoke? what mysteries hide under the tracks through the canyon, in the windows of rusted trains, in the ruins of quarries and lumberyards? what memories linger mildly in the fog of big sur, under the spiny arms of the joshua tree, riding out across death valley, hiking up into desolation?

where is the spirit of the grizzly bear, chased away long ago from his mountains, no longer safe to eat and dream in the caves of the sierra nevada.

all the secrets live deep in the earth, rising up through the trunks of the great redwood trees, ancient and alive, sinking with the sun into the pacific ocean, swirling back into tidepools, burrowing into the sand like tiny crabs you must dig for and catch and then watch wiggle back into the safety of the sand, home under all this, under our feet, secret lives.


Amy Beatty said…
I love your vision. You make every where and every thing feel and seem dreamy. What I perfect world we live in. Oh how I would love to be there.
mooncowboy said…
This is poetry! Beautiful and luscious and evocative. If it were formatted slightly different, it would look more like it, but it is it, regardless.

You're really a good writer, Heather. I've been struggling for (good) inspiration these days, and you're helping me out here. Though I've been reading Desert Solitaire and if that's not inspiration than I don't know what is. Love you.
mom said…
You are a California girl through and through just like me. I love this state, you described it perfectly!
Miss Adie said…
thank goodness for the diversity and pure treasure of this land that we come from. A true fairy tale land.

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