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An old man’s thought of school.

An old man gathering youthful memories and blooms that youth itself cannot.

Now only do I know you

O fair auroral skies—

O morning dew upon the grass!

And these I see, these sparkling eyes, these stores of mystic meaning, these young lives

Building, equipping like a fleet of ships, immortal ships, soon to sail out over the measureless seas

On the soul’s voyage. 

Only a lot of boys and girls?

Only the tiresome spelling, writing, ciphering classes?

Only a public school?

Ah more, infinitely more;

…And you America, cast you the real reckoning for your present?

The lights and shadows of your future, good or evil?

To girlhood, boyhood look, the teacher and the school.

                                                                          —Walt Whitman



—fresh bear paw prints in the mud, at the edge of Shasta lake

—a coyote walking up Ransford avenue in the afternoon.

—a cat bringing me a live mouse and dropping it on my belly in my bed.

—a whale breaching while Marcia, Alicia and I ate lunch at Point Lobos

—“The Bird Lady,” owner of Stones’ Pet Shop killed in Pebble Beach by a drunk driver.

—Bertha cooking me Mexican dinners almost every night while I recovered from my surgery, walking her little dog every day with very little English

—seagulls waking me in every morning with their calls —“Paul! Paul!”

—Polar bears playing with a fallen camera case at the San Diego Zoo.

—A parrot landing on my arm in East L.A. when I was maybe 13, then flying off again.

—the blind lady on the bus with her guide dog, heading for the Center for Freedom in Seaside.

—Debbie and her two cats, kittens, Samantha and Dylan, bigger than my cat ever got. Dylan likes me a little.

—the baby rattlesnake in the Big Sur campground I took up into the hills while eating lunch with Marcia and Alicia.

—Fishing with Omar, never catching anything, Omar caught a beautiful rainbow perch and some rockfish I cooked.



     It’s Friday, June 5th—

Morning, the sun trying to break through the wet grey sky.

Some days John can walk, some days he can’t. I share my pain medicine with him. Make him food. He’s gained alot of weight back. Today he’s in bed at 11 AM but he’s thinking of going to the Seaside library. He might make it. Sometimes he crawls down the stairs. I feel okay, but not healed all the way inside. I listen to NPR and K-PIG (for music). K-PIG is supposed to be on the internet, so people all over the world can hear it. I’ve been watching the DVD’s you sent me (thank you) about this planet. So many things I have yet to see…

     hope you are well.


paul and miles

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January 2016