Showing posts from March, 2022

Wild Rose Wilderness: Blackened Trees

You don't always want to hear the sound of chainsaws when you are taking a nice walk in the woods, but today it's kind of special. You may have heard about the Joaquin Miller Park fire on the news. Today I drove up into the fog, which shrouded the hillside. I went past my usual turnoff and emerged into sunlight. I turned up Skyline and parked at the Horse Arena, where drove as far as I could, until my way was blocked trucks! I went back and parked, and  heard the sound of a two-stroke motor. I walked up the path but was blocked this time by traffic cones, a truck, and a massive tree across the road. As I made my way back to the fire trucks, a pick-up full of yellow hoses drove by me. The three friendly fire-fighters told me they'd come up to collect them after soaking the fire area overnight. After posing for a victory photo, the one with "R. Johnson" emblazoned on his jacket led me through the jumbled forest to a pile of blackened trees on a high, hidde

The Smiling Fox: Ranger Station Tour (part 2)

It's spring and I will probably go back to writing outside, so today I thought I’d give a little tour of the ranger station. In the winter months, I’ve done a lot of writing at this wonderful wooden table, the surface textured with the marks hand-chiseling. Five chairs and a bench, all lovingly padded with tied-on cushions. The wooden floor is peeling up, ready for renewal, which seems to be on its way. I look up at the stone fireplace in the center of the building to see a painting of a kindly, elderly ranger, who is clearly the author of a book, kneeling which children holding magnifying glasses. The title on the book is “The Naturalist” by Rex Burress. I suppose there is a list of rangers who cared for this room somewhere. I don’t know if this is Rex himself, or if Rex was another ranger.  A poem hangs on the wall near the office door, attributed to Louis O’Dell, Ranger from1966 to 1979. Clearly written as tribute to Miller, it begins, “I am the spirit of a land alive.” Mayor Li

The Poet's Nest: Where Are My Keys?

Every time I come up to the Ranger station, I check the display on the desk, and tidy it up a bit. There's so much great info here, about helping the community and defensible space and things to do in Oakland. I call the space behind the desk "The Poet's Nest" and envision a different poet working there each week, with a little sign, *The Poet is In." How cool would that be? What if people knew they could stop by and ask for some fresh poetry at the counter, along with a trail map? This trail map, by the way, do you have one? I went to my eye doctor yesterday in the Dimond and he told me he hands out trail maps to his clients, as prescriptions!  I brought a basket up to tidy up the Lost and Found clutter on the counter. Do you know anyone who has lost their keys? Their travel mug? Have you found a camera or an iPhone? Please stop in! Once I found a bag of prescriptions! There was an address on the bag. I delivered them to their owner, hating the idea