Pulgas Ridge Hike
Poetry and the Mighty Oaks

Docents: Ed Lange & Benita Rashall

Photos of Hike & Haikus
By Peter Y. Chou

Preface: On Thursday, September 25, 2008, docents Ed Lange and Benita Rashall led an afternoon 4-mile hike "Poetry and the Mighty Oak" at Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve. My friend and I came here on Easter Sunday, March 23, 2008 for a wildflower hike (see Photos of Hike & Haikus). The Open Space Preserve Fall brochure description on this hike said bring a tree poem to share, so I brought a few. An elderly gentleman, Jim, who volunteers at Stanford's Cactus Garden was the only hiker beside us that came along, so there were just five of us on this Poetry & Oak Hike. Usually I'm at Stanford Green Library now that Fall Semester started this week, but the lure of oaks, one of my favorite trees, and the love of poetry brought me here today. Below are the photos and haikus for this occasion. (Bay Area Hiker; Map)

Click on Photos for Enlarged Images

Thursday, September 25, 2008, 2:40 pm
Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve
366-acres in San Mateo County, CA

Only five of us
came on this hike— love for
poetry and oaks.
Thursday, September 25, 2008, 2:55 pm
Pulgas Ridge: Cordelleras Trail
Beside a White Oak, Ed Lange reads
"The Oak Tree" by Mary Howitt (1799-1888)
I read "Sleeping Tree of Lake Lagunita"

Sing for the oak tree—
the monarch of the wood
that grows green firm and good.

Thursday, September 25, 2008, 3:00 pm
Pulgas Ridge: Polly Geraci Trail
Lagging behind the other hikers,
I stop to listen to the hole at the
base of this California Live Oak

California Live Oak
chants to me— I stop
and listen to its Ommm!
Thursday, September 25, 2008, 3:30 pm
Pulgas Ridge: Polly Geraci Trail
View of clouds around the bend of trail

Just around the bend
of Polly Geraci Trail—
cloud drama in sky!

Thursday, September 25, 2008, 3:33 pm
Pulgas Ridge: Polly Geraci Trail
Benita read Vachel Lindsay's poem
"The Mouse That Gnawed The Oak Tree Down"
I read "Tree Poem" with John Keats' epigraph

After hilly climb
a bench to rest in the shade—
we read some poetry.
Thursday, September 25, 2008, 3:40 pm
Pulgas Ridge: Polly Geraci Trail
Oak stump looks like a tuning fork

Did Neptune leave you
here?— his long lost trident
now just a tuning fork.

Thursday, September 25, 2008, 3:45 pm
Pulgas Ridge: Polly Geraci Trail
California Live Oak looks like painting of
Claude Monet "Mountains at l'Esteret" (1888)

Monet has painted
this tree already over
a century ago!
Thursday, September 25, 2008, 3:48 pm
Pulgas Ridge: Polly Geraci Trail
Vista of valley and clouds

Nice view of valley
but vista of cloud display
is more breathtaking.
Thursday, September 25, 2008, 3:55 pm
Pulgas Ridge: Hassler Trail
A giant Eucalyptus Tree
Jim tells story of TB sanitarium
Hassler Health Home at this site.

Here's the former site
of TB patients searching
for fresh mountain air.
Thursday, September 25, 2008, 4:07 pm
Pulgas Ridge: Hassler Trail
California Blue Oak (Leaf)

My first sighting of
a California Blue Oak—
simply majestic!

Thursday, September 25, 2008, 4:10 pm
Pulgas Ridge: Hassler Trail
Green Live Oak & California Blue Oak

A symphonic poem
of colors— Green Live Oak
side by side with Blue Oak.
Thursday, September 25, 2008, 4:15 pm
Pulgas Ridge: Hassler Trail
to Blue Oak Trail Entrance

Blue Oak Trail Entrance—
Into the dark woods I come
to learn something new.

Thursday, September 25, 2008, 4:20 pm
Pulgas Ridge: Blue Oak Trail
Benita shows us Bruce Pavlik's book
"Oaks of California" & reads poem
W.S. Merwin's "Trees" from
"The Compass Flower" (1977)

I listen to trees
tenderly— they have carried
me in their branches
Thursday, September 25, 2008, 2:40-4:30 pm
Pulgas Ridge Open Space Preserve
"Poetry and the Mighty Oak" Hike
Docents Ed Lange & Benita Rashall

Lovely two-hour hike
seeing these majestic oaks
and reading tree poems.

— Peter Y. Chou, Mountain View, September 25, 2008

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© Peter Y. Chou, Wisdom Portal
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email: (9-30-2008)