ContentsPutah and Cache: Clear Lake or Lypoyomi

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Gone to Gold

Frances Ransley

The black oaks
Have gone to gold
This season, more than ever before

There, on the hillsides
Among the ponderosas, live oaks and toyon
They stand out in brilliant contrast to their
Gray-green and olive drab compatriots

In some places the northern slopes
Of the hills are solid gold with them,
Shading from burnt sienna to amber,
Leaves bright against the gray morning,
Drifting, cascading, carpeting
The roadway, scattering
Ahead of the coming storm

Reveling in their own magnificence,
Innocent, ebullient in their splendor,
Here-I-am, arms thrown wide,
Never thinking to hide,

A final blaze of glory
All the more easily identified
By predators, the venture capitalists
With their chain saws and D-10 cats,
The realtor's advertisement,
"This fine red soil, with its black oak
And ponderosa cover, is prime vineyard land."

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McLaughlin Mine
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Upper Cache Creek