Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Morning Reading: "They’d take a new way back."

from Four Good Things
by James McMichael

The mountain north of Pasadena has severe
and angular back canyons where the light is always
unexpected, out of place, too simple for the
clutter of the granite blocks along the creeks.
The slopes have low rough shrubs, some firebreaks.
It rains sometimes, and then the soils wash easily
through Rubio and Eaton canyons to the small
catch-basins and the storage tanks. The bedrocks
tilt toward the west, and so the seepage
drains that way. Along a wall of the Arroyo,
it comes down in springs named Tibbets, Ivy,
Flutterwheel. These are the only steady water,
and the Indiana colony had hauled it out
in tubs and barrels to their lots. They’d cleared
the greasewood from the flats and planted groves of
orange and peach trees, built their houses in the
California Style with battened redwood boards.
Nearer the Arroyo, on its terraces,
they saved a few live oak. They’d have December
picnics there and afterward would walk from
that side, down the bluff. The floor was cool,
and there were sycamore and alder, loose
irregular new channels through the willows.
On the other side, and south, below the San Rafaels,
more oak, the sun. They’d take a new way back.

James McMichael reads from his new book,  If You Can Tell, this coming Thursday May 23 on the occasion of his retirement from UC Irvine.  McMichael is a founding member of UCI's English Department.  5 PM in HG 1030. Reception to follow.


image by Edgar Payne (1883-1947)


Dean Keller said...

Hi Lisa,
Thanks for your note. My wife Judy had a serious head injury three weeks ago. We're in Denver at the Craig Hospital now for traumatic brain injury rehab. Making progress, great facility and lots of people helping here.

Rebel Girl said...


It's good to hear from you - but I am so, so sorry to hear about what has happened. I am glad you are in a good place, with good people taking care of your wife. Wishing you both all the best and keeping you both in my thoughts. take care - Lisa

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