January 2 (1977, 1981, 1984, 1985, 1987, 2006, 2007)

1/2/77   well. a rainy day here in the sierra, clouds right here upon us, winds, a real storm. the Big Window is in, lynn and steve and steve helped me.

seeing the big window in has inspired me, i would like to have the time and money to finish it right away, the cabin i mean. but i don't. should go down to año nuevo soon—pescadero rather—and get back to work.”

Russell Towle's journal

1/2/81   Before dawn. Waning crescent moon hangs low in the east. Venus not up yet.


Today I'm going to take Charles and Charlotte and Jim and Mindy up to Big Valley Bluff.”

Russell Towle's journal

1/2/84   Life is rich, and I am left-handed. Not rich myself, there is only one 12-volt light in this small cabin. So I am askew, trying to keep the shadow of my left hand at bay while I write. A cunning paradigm of my psychic stance these days? At any rate, the morbid depression (shadow of the left-hand, sinister somber) I used to dread in the winter has been kept at bay by Lovers Leap.”

Russell Towle's journal

January 2, 1985

Morning, foggy and cool. Yesterday I went into Alta for breakfast and found Charles and. Char engaged in the same; later I joined them at their house and got involved in grading out the basement driveway with Charlie. Then we proceeded to get his truck stuck and spent about an hour extricating it.

From there I went to Shelley Yamamoto’s New Year’s party and gorged myself on sushi etc. I hung around for the rest of the day and watched a movie with Shelley and Carla. Carla is still living at the Rawhide. She is such a strange woman. An artist, a recluse, an attractive woman but never a boyfriend. Now her life is lived in much different terms. Without Jim, her father, she is faced with suddenly being on her own. The situation at Rawhide is not a good one for her; she never bothered to learn to drive until recently, and now must negotiate that horrendous jeep trail winding for miles along the rugged canyon wall. Yesterday she walked the five miles into Shelley's for the party rather than drive.”

Russell Towle's journal


1:55 A.M. Contrary to what I wrote above [on 1/1/ 87], I mounted the bicycle and went into Shelley's and had sushi after all and then rode to the McClungs [...]

I have been starving, and a sort of hole is in my stomach, it's as though I can never really fill it. I did eat well at Shelley's tonight. Skies have cleared; maybe go skiing tomorrow with Charlie.

Night. Skies clouded back over, and I never went skiing today. No. I rode Bill's bicycle into Bill's and drank some coffee with him, showed him Larson's letter, […]

Bill gave me a ride down to Colfax today to get the rebuild kit for my slave cylinder, and kindly brought me home and waited until I fixed it; he's really been very friendly to me lately, so nice.

A big storm is said to be on its way. I cut a little firewood today. So, car is parked out on the road today.

After fifteen minutes on the stove [referring to the typewriter], the "a" has stopped sticking. If it's a lubrication problem this could only make it worse, by further drying and outgassing of the lubricant; but for awhile, the decreased viscosity compensates…”

Date: Mon Jan 02 2006 04:58:24
To: Michael Joyce
From: Russell Towle
Subject: North Fork Dam

Have you ever visited North Fork Dam?

Take Foresthill Road across the bridge, in a mile or less you reach hard left onto Lower Lake Clementine Road, follow it until it bears hard right and down towards the boat launch.

Park as soon as you can and look into the canyon beside you. You will see the dam.

Then find use trails which lead down to the viewpoint.

It is like Niagara Falls, right here in Placer County!

Date: Mon Jan 02 2006 05:13:47
To: Dan
From: Russell Towle
Subject: Re: Sailor Meadow
Cc: Patrick Kavanaugh
>I bring this up because the County is agressively building at Dewitt and I am not sure this site is safe. Just want it to be set aside if possible  but My name is "mud" at the County. Any thoughts?        Dan
My thoughts? We are paving over Indian sites every day. I made my own efforts to get the County aware of Indian sites, in the mid-80s. I failed.

I understand that new state legislation, tho, is far more protective of arch sites than anything before. I have cc'd this to Patrick Kavanaugh, who knows a lot about these issues.


Most people don't know history. The whites (Europeans) stole California from the Indians. We even admitted it in 1852 when we (Europeans) negotiated treaties with the CA Indians, called the Barbour Treaties.

Among these is that negotiated with the Maidu and Chief Weimar, who made his mark on the 1852 treaty at Storms Ranch, over by what would become Chicago Park.

These treaties would have made the theft of California legal; the Indians would trade title to most of the lands in exchange for big chunks here and there ("reservations"). The Maidu reservation would have been huge, from the Bear to the South Yuba, from the Valley to Storms Ranch. Roughly.

But the U.S. Senate put the Barbour Treaties in a sealed secret archive not to be opened for fifty years.

So legal title was never obtained from the CA Indians. The treaties were forgotten as most of the Indians soon died from disease.

Finally, in 1938, the BIA renegotiated treaties with surviving CA Indians and they signed away title.

In theory, that was the legal instrument by which the theft of CA became legal.

[North Fork Trails blogpost, January 2, 2007:
http://northforktrails.blogspot.com/2007/10/miscellany.html ]
Happy new year, 2007 should be a good one!

The other day I approached my teenage son with an excellent idea: "I will first put the chainsaw in my old backpack; next, I'll put that old backpack on your broad shoulders; then, away we will go, down and down and down, into the depths of Green Valley, there to clear brush from the High Ditch."

To which he replied in a series of rather emphatic and mostly monosyllabic negatives, scarcely comprehensible, exclaimed in his curious teenage slang.

I decided not to press the issue, just then. Perhaps a negative would ripen into a maybe. A day later I recalled that the Green Valley Trail itself is getting so badly overhung by manzanita, that this business of carrying chainsaws in backpacks is maybe not an idea worthy of the brightest star in the heavens. So I rephrased my Plan: now he would carry the chainsaw a short distance, very short, really, and I would cut the gnarled deep red branches, and he would toss them off the trail.

Another series of foreign-sounding exclamations, all negative. Sigh.

So this morning I put the damn saw in the damn pack, and carried it down to the uppermost bad section all by myself. I worked over a reach of about two hundred yards and achieved something, less than I had imagined, better than nothing. The day was grey and cool and good for trail work.

Ron Gould suggests that we should round up a real work party and hit the whole trail. A good idea. The manzanita is getting worse and worse in a number of different trail reaches. Supposing we were to carry some of the dratted garbage up and out, from the end of the West Trail, down by the river, well, a frame backpack is the best tool for garbage, and the manzanita would drag and catch and claw at our packs and turn an already tiresome task into a bitter fight. So a bit of manzanita trimming is definitely in order. There are, also, one or two new trees down on the trail, which need cutting into pieces before they can be moved.

Life is more than trails and saws.

Music, music, music. Antonio Carlos Jobim! I rec'd a CD for Christmas, titled "Elis & Tom," the amazing Elis Regina singing the songs of the amazing Tom Jobim. One song especially excited my interest, Águas de Março, or Waters of March; here Jobim joins Elis in a duet. I Googled around in search of more information, for it seemed such an exceptional performance, and found a video of the actual recording session, in Los Angeles, in 1974!

What? How could that be?

It was on YouTube, of which I had heard but not seen. I naturally avoid such sites because I have such a poor internet connection, it takes forever to download content. For the Waters of March, however, forever was fine. I waited, I waited, I waited, and at last I watched.

Really really great!

So. I saw that anyone in the world can upload videos to YouTube. I quickly assembled a few short pieces of geometrical animations I had made years ago. See


Elis Regina and Tom Jobim recording Águas de Março (Waters of March) in Los Angeles in 1974: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jYLoxMtnUDE

About the song on Wikipedia:

Jobim's own beautiful re-write of the lyrics into English can be found about 1/3 down this page, (after the parallel version):

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