(If you have arrived looking for my Mag 80 it follows this OPW post...or click it. )
I was going to scan a postcard of the rugged Pacific Ocean coastline this week, as my husband and I will be at the Oregon coast on Thursday to celebrate our 16th anniversary. Because I am tired right now my thought was to post this card of the ocean and a simple Zen poem or haiku about the sea. The site I chose has numerous poems in that genre but I wasn't finding anything about the ocean as I scrolled. Then my eyes landed on the poem below (that has absolutely nothing to do with the ocean) and I felt it was a little message from my mother to post instead the Weaverville postcard that was right behind the Pacific Ocean card in my grandmother's card box.
My grandmother waited out the Great Depression up in Trinity Canyon with my mother (who was just out of high school) and my aunt (then a little girl) on some property owned by one of my uncles. They called it "the ranch," but the house was really a shack with an outhouse down the path. My mother nearly lost her mind at first, having come from Santa Monica, California, where they left all friends behind, and perhaps would have if not for trips on the winding road down to Weaverville. There they bought necessities not grown in their garden at "the ranch," and found a semblance of a social life through the Grange nearby. She grew to love Trinity County, where Trinity Canyon in the "Trinity Alps" and Weaverville gave her a hardy outlook on life that included her survival instinct and deep respect for forested mountain areas.
In October 2009 I posted a different Weaverville postcard and told my favorite story of my mother's Trinity County experience that includes the wonderful song Red River Valley. You can find it here. And, after the death of my aunt in 2008, I wrote a post about her life, including more on the years spent at Trinity County. That post has a photo of my mother and my aunt on a hike in Trinity Canyon, and I have decided to post it again here as an introduction to the poem about Trinity Canyon.
Trinity Canyon by Mike Garafalo
pull to shore–
the river moves on.
One by one
jumping into the deep pool–
a swinging rope.
echo down the canyon walls–
along the rocky riverside–
falling pine needle
I'm sitting, still.
The chanting canyon stream
is moving mountains.
While doing research about Trinity County and Weaverville, my eyes quickly scanning the search lists, I saw two words that really made me take a deep sigh: Lost Horizon. As that 1937 film about finding the mythical Shangri-La was my mother's favorite movie of all time (I am not kidding here, it really did just come tripping into my search), I will simply post the article that a Weaverville realtor shares on her website...and will wish you all a wonderful Wednesday and a terrific Thursday.
Incidentally, my mother would have gone absolutely nuts over this article but it was published four years after her death....
Unassuming Shrangri-La in Trinity Alps Weaveville blends mystic East, Old West in Gold Rush alchemy
- John Flinn, SF Chronicle Staff Writer, Sunday, August 1, 2004
Weaverville (Trinity County) -- In 1941, James Hilton, the British author of "Lost Horizon," was on a lecture tour of the United States. Inevitable, a reporter asked him: In all your wanderings, what's the closest you've found to a real-life Shrangri-La?
"A little town in northern California," the writer responded, presumably with a wistful, far-away look in his eye. "A little town called Weaverville."
I thought the comparison was pushing it a bit, but I started to wonder as I drove into this pretty alpine hamlet, which is cradled by snow-tipped peaks, and found a weathered string of Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags flapping along the main street. Then a pair of saffron-robed Buddhist monks, from the nearby Chagdud Gompa, came strolling out of a natural food store.
Maybe Hilton was on to something after all.
For most visitors, though, Weaverville's chief lures are that it's a wonderfully preserved Gold Rush town and gateway to the exquisite Trinity Alps, a miniature Sierra Nevada between Redding and Eureka.
Its Old West downtown has changed hardly at all since Hilton's visit, although a new conglomeration of strip malls and fast-food outlets is metastasizing a mile to the east along Highway 299.
In the red-brick downtown, the swinging doors of saloons still open onto wood-plank sidewalks, locust trees still line Main Street, and white metal staircases still spiral upward to wrought-iron balconies. . . .
Downtown's most intriguing feature -- and something that contributes to the Shangri-La aura -- is the Taoist Joss House, the oldest Chinese temple in continuous use in the state. It was originally built in the 1850's, when Weaverville had a sizable Chinese population from Guangdong Province, with their own stores, barbershops, theaters and gambling houses. The temple was rebuilt in 1874 after a fire and hasn't changed much in appearance since then. It's now a state park. . .
Rising straight above town are the Trinity Alps, a compact and inviting mountain range filled with soaring pine forests, frothing streams, turquoise lands and castle-like granite peaks, some sporting tiny glaciers. The summits aren't nearly as lofty as the Sierra Nevada -- the highest, Thompson Peak, tops out at a mere 9,002 feet -- but because of the range's northerly latitude, its timberline high country begins at an easy-to-breathe altitude of 6,000 feet.
The Trinities are a renowned fly-fishing venue, and popular backpacking trails such as Canyon Creek get a lot of traffic on summer weekends, but it doesn't take much effort to carve out a little piece for yourself.
At the edge of town, I turned onto a dirt road that switch-backed up the side of a mountain for 9 somewhat jouncy miles -- it was fine in an all - wheel-drive Subaru Outback, and I'm told that, with a little care, normal passenger cars can make it -- to a fire lookout with 360-degree, king-of-the world views.
From a nearby turnout, I set out with my dog Tucker on a hiking trail that angled up to a little notch on a ridge and then descended sharply to a rocky amphitheater containing East Weaver Lake. Ringed with wildflowers and craggy buttresses, it was an unbeatable spot for a leisurely picnic, a long swim (Tucker) and a siesta on a sun-warmed granite slab (me). At an alpine lake this easy to reach in the Sierra, I would have had to elbow my way through a mob of hikers just to reach the shore. In the Trinity Alps, Tucker and I had it all to ourselves.
Back in town, I bought an ice cream and went for a stroll through the town's leafy back streets, past tidy old miner's cottages, a few of them festooned with strings of sun-bleached prayer flags. I wondered about a former colleague who had retired here years ago. Weaverville, I decided, would be a pretty great place to grow old -- or perhaps to not grow old at all.
John Flinn, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer
Sunday, August 1, 2004
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More about the movie Lost Horizon at imdb.
This post describes yet another in my growing collection of ICMs (Ironies and Cosmic Messages).
Others: here, and here, and here.