When I first got into hiking and photography in Oregon I was hanging out at this book store and I did a double take when I saw the name Rezendes because that is Portuguese and it is my mother’s maiden name. It was called THE WILD WITHIN it was a book not so much about tracking as it was about how to look at the forest…how to be present in the forest. His sort of autobiography and how he came to love the outdoors. I purchased it because I thought he was a distant relative. But he’s not.
I can’t scan the book because I loaned it out. But Paul Rezendes used to be the head of a biker gang called the Devils Deciples and they were based in Fall River, Massachusetts. Fall River is where most of my Portuguese relatives live. Anyway, he got a clue after getting arrested, studied Krishnamurti and started an Ashram. He turned to the woods and started a tracking school and became a photographer here is his website PAUL REZENDES PHOTOGRAPHY
Here is the book I got
He has updated the cover but being the destitute person I am I opted for the used copy on Amazon. And I think he has one of those $20,000 camera’s while I just bought a Canon Rebel film camera for $100. That’s Catholicism talking I feel guilty about everything….buying used books!!!!! I wish he would write a book about how to get rid of guilt!!!
I told the story about the bear shit on Whisky Creek trail….
but I was in the Redwoods hiking by myself of the Boy Scout trail when I ran into this couple and the man was shocked to see me hiking alone and said as much. I replied I’m not scared to be in the woods alone. He said did you see the cougar tracks back there it wouldn’t matter if you were a man…you are food! So on the way back I finally noticed the cougar tracks but didn’t see a cougar.
I still wasn’t convinced but then I would read about cougar and bear attacks in the woods. Each story instilled a bit more fear. One day I was on Mill Creek in the Redwoods and stopped on Mill Creek to eat my lunch. It is so beautiful….then I saw this
They were big! But according to Paul Rezendes I need to start carrying a tape measure. To the right of the big claw marks it looks like smaller tracks. But I couldn’t find any more tracks leading to the claw marks but they were right next to the water.
The shadow in the picture is the log I sat on to eat lunch.
and a view of the creek
I can’t wait to start tracking bears and cougars….they won’t have to exert them selves tracking ME down. I’ll track them so they will have an easy meal!!!
Later I gotta go write my will.
THE SUMMER OF BLACK WIDOWS
The spiders appeared suddenly
after that summer rainstorm.
Some people still insist the spiders fell with the rain
while others believe the spiders grew from the damp soil like weeds
with eight thin roots.
The elders knew the spiders
carried stories in their stomachs.
We tucked our pants into our boots when we walked through fields
of fallow stories.
An Indian girl opened the closet door and a story fell into her hair.
We lived in the shadow of a story trapped in the ceiling lamp.
The husk of a story museumed on the windowsill.
Before sleep, we shook our blankets and stories fell to the floor.
A story floated in a glass of water left on the kitchen table.
We opened doors slowly and listened for stories.
The stories rose on hind legs and offered their red bellies to the most
Stories in our cereal boxes.
Stories in our firewood.
Stories in the pocket of our coats.
We captured stories and offered them to the ants, who carried the
stories back to their queen.
A dozen stories per acre.
We poisoned the stories and gathered their remains with broom and
The spiders disappeared suddenly
after that summer lightning storm…..
I can hear the sound of Mr. Alexi’s lawyer typing up a cease and desist order….. You can read the rest on Amazon. It’s the second poem in his book.
And what a poem! Seriously I don’t know what it is about that poem the spiders coming down with the rain and bringing stories in their stomachs… You could read that poem to me on my death bed and everything would be alright!!! It is so imaginative and I almost fell out of my chair the first time I read it there was such joy and delight in my heart!
I took a poetry class about 25 years ago and while I got an A, I can’t write worth a damn and it pretty much ruined me for poetry until I read THE SUMMER OF BLACK WIDOWS on Amazon. The poetry class was filled with people that would slice, dice, twist and other wise disembowel a poem until it was dead and stripped of any magic…..and don’t get me started on FUCKING IAMBIC PENTAMETER!!! Once I spot it a poem is dead to me.
I love black widows! My mom used to own the black widow motel that is where I fell in love with them. She lives in the Nevada desert and she had this old Jeep Cherokee sitting in her driveway for years, at night they would all come out. There must have been 20 nests and those were just the ones you could see! My brother hated them and would deliberately walk 20 feet around it imagining that they would grab him and drag him under. Me?? I was naming them. My poor mother made the mistake of killing one of them in front of me…I yelled and accused her of black widow murder. I wish I had taken a picture of them!
I didn’t buy it used either so no guilt there!!!
The cover art is great too!
Also here is Sherman Alexie’s website he has a link to some of his newer poems and he also posts stuff that he is currently reading. That is how I got into all of these great Indian writers. He has good taste in books.
Once upon a time I drove past Merlin, Oregon to the Rogue River in an attempt to escape my brother’s rabid girlfriend. Frustrated with a bad year in Pahrump Hell and a disastrous move back to Oregon (all is well now!) I needed to be by myself, do some thinking and meditating. I sat by the rivers edge for several hours. At one point I looked up and across from me on the other side of the river was a cross up on a rock formation. I had not remembered seeing it earlier. When I saw the cross I knew that everything would be alright. I drew a picture of it and was so angry, frustrated, and scared I tore a hole in the paper on the bottom right corner. I spent that day alternately cursing and praying.
The next day I went back and there was no cross. I thought I had lost my mind because I had sat and drawn a picture of it. I climbed back up the bank of the river and turned to look one last time, there it was only further down and closer to the tree in the sketch. You couldn’t see it while sitting by the river because of the rock formations.
The thing about God is that he/she/energy is always there. No reverence required the only thing in life you can trust no matter how much you scream, lament, curse, shake your fist at….God is greater than that and as I read recently in THE SHACK it doesn’t really matter what path you choose in life he will be be there.
I have a book called RIVER-WALKING SONGBIRDS & SINGING COYOTES by Patricia K. Lichen. It tells about things in the Pacific Northwest in a way that makes it interesting…I have field guides but a bad memory but Patricia talks about nature in a story manner which is more conducive to my learning style!
Anyway she had a chapter on Indian Pipe
Description: To ten inches high; a cluster of stems, each ending with a bell -shaped flower; close, scale like leaves; white overall occasionally pink tinged, turning black as it ages. Shaped like a shepherd’s hook until seed development, when the plant stands erect.
There’s something vaguely creepy about Indian Pipe. Maybe that is due to the plant’s waxy, nearly translucent whiteness. Or because it is clammy and cold to the touch, within a few hours of being picked, it turns black
I grew up near forest and stream and didn’t remember anything of that description. And looked whenever I was hiking for the last two years .Then one day not long ago I was hiking and happened to look down.
I am guessing that these are the Indian Pipes just hatching! Of course I haven’t gone back there but will try to next week they might be black no though as the area I found them is getting cold at night.
The author of the book is not overly fond of these flowers but I was quite excited to see them…I don’t know if they are cold to the touch because I didn’t touch them. The plants have lost all of their ability to feed themselves and live off mostly Douglas fir but through a third party fungus! This is what the author does not like!
To one who can read the faces of the flowers, as it were, it stands a branded sinner. Doubtless its ancestors were industrious, honest creatures seeking their food in the soil, and digesting it with the help of leaves filled with good green matter (chlorophyll) on which virtuous vegetable life depends; but some ancestral knave elected to live by piracy, to drain the already digested food of its neighbors, so the Indians Pipe gradually lost the use of parts for which it had need no longer, until we find it today without color and its leaves degenerated into mere scaly bracts….No wonder this degenerate hangs its head: no wonder it grows black with shame on being picked, as if its wickedness were only just then discovered!
See what I mean? She makes things interesting and like me I am sure you will never forget this flower! I don’t judge it quite as harshly but I do think she has a sense of humor
I almost always read two books at one time, one is the book I keep by my bedside almost always fiction and the other is non-fiction that I keep in my car and read at lunch or when I am stuck in construction…waiting for whatever reason.
THE DEATH OF JIM LONEY by James Welch
Jim Loney didn’t know how long he had been asleep, but when he awoke it was close to 4 A.M. Outside, the wind swirled and blew snow like grains of sand against the kitchen window. He looked down at this dog and his dog was looking up at him.
“How you doing, old man?”
Swipesy twisted his head.
“You don’t even hear me, but I think you understand everything about life. And you know that you’re a good old boy, don’t you? Yes, you’re good old dog. You live clean and you never abuse yourself. You’re an example to me, Swipesy. I just wish I was as smart as you. I used to be. I was as smart as anybody.”
Swipesy sat up and pushed his nose against Loney’s knee.
“That was before I realized I didn’t know anything. Not one damn thing that was worth knowing. Dy you understand that? Do I understand that? Loney allowed himself a rueful smile that had nothing to do with the dog.
It’s not a book to read if you are looking for sunshine happiness! But James Welch is a good writer and this book covers the pain or rather the numbing of pain of an alcoholic mixed blood white/Indian.
Now RENEGADE TRIBE is about the Palouse Indians.
Like most history between whites and Indians the Palouse were welcoming and helpful when first encountering white people. White people move in; greed, savagery,narcissism and paranoia are inflicted on the Indians. Indians begin to chafe under white attempts to dominate…conflict ensues. I’m only on starting Chapter 4
It really bothers me that real history is not taught in school…well I’m not sure about now. When I was in school it was all from the colonizer point of view.