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Tom McCubbin Apr 2015
We have let go of our frantic lust
for the shiny metal in the Sacramento hills.
It was hard for my grandfather,
in coming west on horse and with wagon,
dragging a family across the pimpled skin
of the young land, to help John Sutter
build his new empire.
He then found that his dream of good land
for ranching was subverted with easy gold.

Grandfather’s first home on the bank of the river:
a tule hut, or grass hut, left behind by
Mi-wuk Indians, who wandered with
the elk and circulated with the
wonderment of passing stars;
no regard for what shined beneath them.

It’s in the luring poems and the stories that the
old California adventure comes back to us.
No one longer builds much with grass,
and cannot so easily pick out fortunes
by following the earth’s deep cracks.

Some would walk away from jobs and cities,
bulging packs strapped on shoulders,
and head up through the openings
and narrowings of the valleys,
and into the foothills of the Sierras.
Camp beside ****** trout holes
and dip into the riffled water
at the edge of perfect green mirrors:
to find what is precious and become
free from the cycle of the frantic lust.

— The End —