“2/22/76 ... i scrambled around beneath the cliff band running through my property, just checking things out. found a curious landslide deposit over by the green valley trail that i have noticed before but never looked at closely. the slope angle is moderate above the slide, which is gullied in places to the depth of twenty feet; a spring is situated upslope, in the volcanic ash layer, and could be responsible for the slide. the slide itself shows a high proportion of fine-grained material, and rock makes up perhaps only five percent of the mass; the boulders are of both serpentine and andesitic 'mud'; the slide has penetrated into the 'subjacent' serpentine zone perhaps two hundred feet. tall pine trees growing on the slide show that it is probably at least 150 years old, as the bark plates on the ponderosa are well-developed, although trunk diameter is less than four feet... i would like to compile a detailed geological and vegetational map of the ridge and canyon wall someday...
as i returned to my little cliff top that i call ‘cabañita’ i encountered thick buckbrush and silk tassel. nearing the top i heard a rustling sound and saw a skunk only a few feet away. he did not seem alarmed, but i made haste to increase the distance between us.
the band-tailed pigeons were congregated in a large flock yesterday, and made many seemingly aimless flights out into the canyon for brief intervals. they would roar out of the oaks in an explosion of flipping and soft whistling of wings. they spent much time near the springs, some of the flock on the ground and some in the trees. last year's acorn crop was tremendous and many still lie about in the duff. they say those pigeons can swallow them whole ~ i would like to see that. many drank from the springs. i was able to approach closely. it was a flock of over one hundred birds.
~ night. it just struck me (typically, while stoking elfin pipa), an analogy, to the way that i relate and have related for at least fourteen years to society in such a way that its standards, values, and roles do not apply to me, that i am an outsider; and the analogy i see is that of the president declaring a state of emergency and then acquiring special powers. i started really tuning in to what was going on in the world in my early teens, not with the eyes of a sophisticate able to discern niceties of shade and texture, but with early teen eyes that left me very open to feelings of disbelief and agony that a world like this could even exist; and it was then that i declared my state of emergency, and consciously stepped beyond society's pale, a confirmed outlaw. it was essential to protect my ideals, perhaps, and thus the only course open was to dedicate one's life towards change. my earliest journals were scribbled wild ravings to this effect. and the situation, as viewed with my fresh young eyes, seemed so critical that only radical, immediate effort could avert a disaster for the world, or rather pull us out of the ongoing disaster in which we lived out our lives. it felt as though a calm, unbiased, rational, objective [scan] had been made of the situation (i.e. reality) and the instinctive reflexive mind computer sorted out the obvious, inescapable, utterly apparent conclusion: a radical change/essential/survive
so: one declared a state of emergency, suspending normal day-to-day american life & standards etc., indefinitely... and so it's been ever since, tho not always articulated, just a potent cell in the substrate, and the rationalization for many lapses in social behavior of a negative, unbalanced sort.
and it still seems as tho the world should be declared in a state of emergency and that the spirit of goodwill be made president and given extraordinary powers....
a strange glow was on the crystal range this morning. there were high diffuse clouds and a fair amount of haze. the sunny ridges gave off a burnished, massive glow from their edges that looked like a white aura emanating from the whole west flank of the range. as though the slopes were polished ice, reflecting so strongly it was hard to even look.”
[Russell Towle's journal]
“2/22/79 ~ snowing like crazy with over a foot on the ground. willy [Russell's truck] ~ i couldn't get him started yesterday, and by now i might not get out even if i do get him started. there certainly are some hassles to living on moody ridge.
SMALL EARTHQUAKE AT 8:00 AM as i was reading i ching oracle ...
the earthquake lasted about ten seconds, during which the cabin shook, a few things rattled, kerosene lamp chimney wiggled, clumps of snow were knocked out of the trees to thud on the roof. now, a veritable blizzard.
oh, it is so beautiful here. i am so lucky, lucky.
snowing so very heavily ~ even if willy starts, i'll count myself lucky to get out. but a trip into town is called for, no doubt about it; but it may be on foot.
and almost out of firewood! hardly a stick of kindling! ...
ah. the news. the earthquake was centered between reno and susanville which would seem to indicate activity on the sierra nevada fault. 5 on the richter scale.”
[Russell Towle's journal]