Friday, May 9, 2008


I believe that my old friend and I spent a night on the beach shown in this woodblock print soon after he returned from Vietnam on December 8, 1970. We had driven from the small cottage we rented for $110 a month in the hills of Redwood City. Late in the day, near sunset, after parking the car on a turnout on the coast highway, we walked across the headlands and made our way down to the beach. Of course, this was illegal. We were on private land, but it was getting dark, and we decided to sleep at the bottom of the cliffs, in a safe place above the tide line. My old friend and I gathered driftwood, and he built a fire in the sand in a sheltered niche. As the smoke rose, we heard a shriek. When we looked up, there was an owl in the sky. It didn't seem like an auspicious sign. I felt as if we were in a Robinson Jeffers' poem. The night was cold and windy. We didn't sleep well. In the morning, we walked back up to the road where a highway patrolman was waiting for us. He asked us what we were doing on the headlands. He pointed out that we had been walking on private property but didn't cite us for trespassing.

No artist comes closer to my experience and vision of California than Tom Killion, whose woodblock print is shown above.

Many thanks to wood s lot for his link to POETS ON THE PEAKS: SNYDER, MUIR, KEROUAC, WHALEN


robin andrea said...

That's a wonderful memory, am. I love seeing that Thomas Killion print. He does have a stunning vision of California. We have a book of his prints that he did with Gary Snyder called The High Sierra of California. When we packed boxes of books to take to the second-hand bookstore in town, in preparation for our move, that book did not go into the box.

Dawn said...

thanks AM, the print and your story bring back a wonderful memory of pulling off to the side of a road 30 years ago, on the calif coast. we slept well and in the morning discovered we had slept in a old cemetary with the ocean just feet away.