May 6 (1976, 1987, 2003)
Warm, Rumbling Thunder ~ Big Mouth Black Oak

5/6/76 [...]

yesterday I took lynn and steve out to see my land and lovers leap; we had a fine day sunning ourselves on the rocks and watching clouds and their shadows. I scrambled about on the cliffs just to the north of the leap and was pleased by their undisturbed natural quality. Such fine cliffs for this low in the sierra swallows careened about band-tailed pigeons did their short regularly timed whistles.”

lynn and steve looked at my various building sites and expressed pleasure in one that is between the big boulder of volcanic mud and the little gully of the pines it seems very nice and has good shade if not quite as much winter sun as i would like. ... wish i could start camping out over there ~ i have a lot of work to do.

~ sunset. And of such a beautiful day. windy, & clear, except over the high country, over which boiled the clouds and yet above the sun with its merry rays… The [chlorogalum pomeridianum], soap plant or whatever, grows so lushly and abundantly around here, as does the kit kit dizze, the yellow star tulips, the cedars.

[Russell Towle's journal]

5/6/87 [...]

The worms continue to rappel earthwards from the trees, and their little silken threads are everywhere, everywhere, tangled across every trail, through every bush, and the oak leaves begin to look visibly chewed. I have noticed that the worms come on stronger in some years than others; this year they seem particularly active and abundant; but the onset of very warm weather early in the season may have prompted a special surge of activity.

The large oak just to the southwest of the cabin, a venerable and decaying giant, has long been the perch for ground squirrels; they advance a short ways up the trunk, where a kind of natural ledge occurs and sit and gaze about. Really cute. There is something shy and tender about the squirrels; unlike the gray squirrels, they never seem to bark or indulge in frantic games of tag; they never seem to impose their presence upon the forest; instead, they climb to their little perch, sheltered from hawks by an overhanging branch, and sit quietly, and meditate upon the beauties of a day.

Later; near midnight; I have rigged up the little battery-powered light which Kelley and I bought on our trip to the Owens Valley a few years ago. It is a sort of half-light, weekly gleaming, barely enough to type by.

I just was out wandering in the meadow and then strolled to the cliffs. The moon is half-full, and clouds remaining from this afternoon's thunderstorms nearly cover the sky. No rain; just very warm, rumbling thunder.

[Russell Towle's journal]

Big Mouth Black Oak
Somewhere in Giant Gap Ravine
May 6, 2003

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