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Thursday, April 5, 2012


Standing almost at the top of Sonoma Mountain,
the Santa Rosa plain in white-out from the August fog,
it is easy to imagine the time before the Europeans came,
before a different type of white-out.

The peaceful Pomo people, basket makers,
made not just for function, but for art as well,
their work now in the Smithsonian,
amazingly, also in the Kremlin.

The quiet Miwoks, or simply The People,
who knew the truth of time and things,
who buried their artifacts, their “stuff”
with the dead who had made or found them.

With the rooftops below obscured by the mist,
One can imagine these hunter-gatherers,
bows and clubs in hand, snares at their waist,
bags of mussels and grasshoppers for a later meal.

The resilient Wappo, in their homes of leaves, branches, mud,
living in small groups, extended families, one for all,
their baskets so perfectly made they’d hold water,
all their work for community good.

Winters were mild, game was bountiful, fish plentiful,
survival not an issue. No mortgage, no outside noises,
time for family and friends, singing and dancing,
time to embrace their spirituality, enjoy nature, create art

As the sun peeks over the mountain, lifting the fog,
the houses appear, the roads, the cars.
One can imagine Drake, maybe Magellan,
the Spanish priests and Russian trappers,
later, the frightfully greedy immigrants and gold seekers.
One can grasp the meaning of paradise lost.

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