Sunday, April 11, 2010

Old Growth Dream

I thought of John Muir and originally this poem was for him. People in California know of John Muir, at least around Berkeley they did when I was growing up. He figures in the story of the Redwoods and the Sequoias, and Yosemite. He founded the Sierra Club, still around today. Read about him on Wiki if you like.

I began near Muir Woods, among other places, near Tilden Park, near the Big C on the hill above the Berkeley campus of the University of California, where my mother graduated and then taught for a little while. She met Stormy Hileman, center/linebacker for the Golden Bears after his duty as a Marine in the Pacific war and married him after I asked him to be my dad. Step-Father. He tried some things while my mom kept her university job, first trying for a slot on the 49ers, playing for a farm team in Pennsylvania, the Bethlehem Bulldogs. He didn't make enough money, tried other things. After a couple years they went off on their post war adventure, both determining to be high school teachers and he later trying for school administration. We went out to the valley then, settling in a small town on the way to Sonora from the Bay Area. There I spent time in fields by irrigation canals. There we raised Siamese cats. My mother taught English at the Oakdale High School, the town we lived in, on a provisional certificate pending her graduation, while my dad taught math and coached football at the Ripon High School on his provisional certificate. In those days post war there was such a shortage of teachers you could start teaching before you got the education completed. They both got their Teacher's license from University of the Pacific in Stocton. They made squat as pay so we continued poor as church mice for several years.

Old Growth Dream

I see it. This place
dissolves you impressively.
This is who I love.

Everything is
pulsing with breath and warm love
delightfully here
while the wing traces
a path through the sky like
deer make in forests.

The winds know, tell it,
I hear their voices far off
and I tell you so.

May 3, 2009 4:20 PM
Retitled April 11, 2010


  1. Jeepers, this was like a flashback. All my old stomping grounds! And I went to UOP. It's strange to read of close proximity in a place that usually speaks only distance. John Muir, Tilden Park...I think I'm about retake a field trip! "Mom, pack my lunch...."

  2. These days people remember Berkeley differently. Berserkeley. I was in San Jose in those particular days, or still overseas in East Pakistan.


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