November 6 (1975, 1977, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988)
R_in _nd Snow

11/6/75   a day spent retrieving 6 x 6's from the phantasmagorical gracie mine head frame. all of the timbers were held together with mortise-and-tenon joints and one-inch threaded rod, with huge nuts and washers that at times were quite difficult to unscrew. [...] I wish that we had some photographs of the headframe still standing, dumb of me not to take any.

it appears that i will get enough six-by-six from the headframe to handle all the posts of the cabaƱita dodecahedron, including the center post. which will certainly be the phantasmagoria post.

The Gracie Mine headframe, Nevada County
damn! i'm beginning to feel real bad, real sad about not having a picture of that gracie headframe showing it as it was. that brave, enduring structure—pulled to the ground in a matter of seconds—what has stood for decades beneath the sun. the stars. the rain. the wind, the snow. wasps lived in its cracks, birds roosted there. ore was hauled to the surface, gold was brought forth from the earth. that structure was a monument to the skill of certain builders, craftsmen, working with hand tools they carved out the mortises, the tenons, ants inhabited many of the larger timbers. young people crawled around on it in later years, and some of them were stoned, and carved on the old timbers.”
[Russell later acquired from the archives of the Nevada Union newspaper a photo of the standing Gracie Mine headframe, which he framed and hung in his cabin. Here's a copy of that photograph. —Gay ]
[Russell Towle's journal]

11/6/77   sunday morning. sky clear, pool of fog in green valley, a light frost on the ground. there should be abundant snow in the high country; we had more than an inch of rain at this elevation. i'll take a walk down to rockytop and have a look around soon. today is the last day of deer season and i expect i'll be seeing a few hunters.

[...] i wonder if i should try to work for merrill for a couple of weeks. naw, not now, in the fall. maybe in the winter or early spring. but i want to see the changes. i spent 10 months down there just so i could kick back and live here without having to work for a while. i mean, i've been working every day, but for myself, on the cabin.


~ mid-day, crisp and cold outside but warm in the cabin, with the sun shining through the windows and the light going almost all the way across the floor.

The snow upcanyon is spectacular. The south wall of the royal gorge, opposite snow mountain, is in particular, quite impressive. there the snow seems to cling to an impossibly sheer cliff, which is indeed a cliff, but foreshortening renders it a near vertical wall, almost totally white, an enormous white flag suspended in the canyon. The impression is heightened because the seemingly adjacent slopes immediately down canyon have snow only near the canyon rim, while the royal gorge cliffs have snow all the way down.

guns blasting away everywhere.”

[Russell Towle's journal]

November 6, 1985


Made it to 104,000 on Centipede [video game] the other night at the Vista [local watering hole, the Monte Vista Inn, at the Dutch Flat/I-80 interchange].

There is the most exceptional color in the oaks this year. No storms to knock down the leaves, they hang by the merest threads, and the slightest breeze will unleash thousands . It snows oak leaves. Today… today: so clear, so warm, the shadows so blue, the leaves gleaming gold, and a song in my heart all day. I have been cheerful lately, but catch myself on the edge of tears. And the heart-song swells, quavers, goes on.

Later. Very dark, and with a bit of a nip to the air. I went in to the Vista for some Pede [the video arcade game, Centipede], didn't do very well, 71,000 max. […]

[Russell Towle's journal]

11/6/86   [...]

It's morning, clear, cool, sunny, a strong northeast wind whips the pines about. I just returned from the meadow/knoll, where I burned a couple of ceanothus stumps. Despite the wind, threatening to spread fire all over the knoll, with its sudden gusts.

I am engaged in debate with myself over how many more trees to remove around and in the meadow. To the west rises a grove of mighty oaks on the hillside towering over the meadow: the plan always was to remove every pine and oak beneath the grove, leaving the two dogwoods. Then the openness of the meadow would be enhanced, as would the impression and view of the towering grove above. One of the pines is so large that I couldn't even use it for firewood. Well, not the main trunk.

On the knoll there are several pines and a few small oaks and douglas firs which I have always debated removing. To the east of the knoll stand a line of tall pines which I would never remove, and which constitute, somewhat in the manner of the grove of towering oaks across the meadow, a natural wall or boundary to the inner space. Between these easterly pines and the grove of tall pines along the west side of the knoll is a natural opening, which includes the crest of the knoll and a portion of its eastern face. At the north end of the knoll are several young pine trees, the larger ones about forty feet high or so, which I had always planned to remove. Again, some of them are too large for firewood.

The benefits of removal include a warmer microclimate for the upper end of the meadow—it would receive substantially more morning sun than if the pines were allowed to live. If removed, the eastern row of tall pines would stand clear as the meadow's boundary presenting a fine appearance. If even only the two most vigorous of the smaller pines on the knoll itself were left, the knoll would define the boundary rather than the east row, a difference of about 100 feet in width. So it is very tempting, as it has always been, to remove all those pines at the north end of the knoll. Two fine live oaks would remain, and once the ceanothus was taken out, the whole area would go to grass, and be quite lovely.

The removal of the pines etc. along the west side of the lower meadow, and the pines etc. along the east side of the upper meadow, would take days of effort. [...]

The top of the knoll—where I have been doing some clearing of late—is a very very nice spot, with native grasses growing thickly and a surprising amount of room. Or there would be room if the ceanothus were cleared.”

[Russell Towle's journal]

11/6/87   Morning. It r ins,  nd prospects  re slight for my work [...] tod y. Yesterd y I burned huge  mounts of brush. The typewriter is too cold; the “ ” sticks relentlessly.”

[Russell Towle's journal]

11/6/88   Morning, raining, dripping, canyon fog-filled, some kind of horrible rhythmic quasi-classical hallelujah-ing going on (yuk!)… stove warm, bathroom drenched and dripping from the extremely leaky roof which I have managed to avoid fixing these six or seven years.

The typewriter gets quirky in a winter season, the cold renders it quirky.

Ah, the pandemonium of my cabin.”


[Russell Towle's journal]

1 comment:

  1. The Centipede mentioned by Russell above (once as just 'Pede'):